Thomas Jefferson girls upset West Mifflin in section battle
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 11:02 p.m.
It was fitting that the West Mifflin girls basketball team barely got back onto the court from its locker room in time for the start of the second half against rival Thomas Jefferson.
That's because West Mifflin barely showed up for the final two quarters of Monday's Section 4-AAA game, and Thomas Jefferson made the Lady Titans pay for it.
Thomas Jefferson outscored visiting West Mifflin, 25-14, over the final 11 minutes including 20-7 over the last six minutes to knock the Lady Titans out of first place in the section with a 50-43 victory.
“We are getting better and better every night,” Thomas Jefferson first-year coach Dom DiMattia said. “We are finally learning some of the system I had when I was in South Park back in the late '90s.”
The victory was Thomas Jefferson's third consecutive and moved the Lady Jaguars (6-6, 3-3) into a fourth-place tie with Ringgold (6-8, 3-3) for the final playoff spot.
Meanwhile, West Mifflin (5-7, 4-1) fell a game behind Section 4-AAA front-running Elizabeth Forward (12-1, 5-0), a 55-49 winner over Belle Vernon (8-4, 4-2).
“We are back in the playoff picture, but we still have a long way to go,” DiMattia said. “We needed this one to stay in the picture.”
Thomas Jefferson got 21 points from junior guard Alexis Yanief, including 11 in the fourth quarter, while senior forward Jesse Hinkle contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds.
West Mifflin was paced by Alyssa Cairns' 16 points and eight each by Paige Flore and Taylor Thomas. Thomas grabbed 12 rebounds, but was held scoreless in the second half before fouling out with 1:38 left.
Both teams found it tough to score in the first half, mostly because they were turning the ball over. Both teams turned it over 11 times in the opening half.
Much of the same continued in the third quarter. Despite turning the ball over nine times, attempting seven shots from the floor and scoring three points, TJ trailed only by six at 33-27 heading into the final quarter.
It was a quarter that TJ would dominate.
“We switched up defense a little bit,” DiMattia said. “I call it the junky 1-3-1. It isn't the normal 1-3-1. I do a couple things different, and it seemed to work.”
TJ went on a 9-0 run to turn a six-point deficit into a three-point lead with just more than three minutes left.
“They were missing a lot of shots,” DiMattia said. “They score a lot of points underneath and we started to get some rebounds. They are a lot bigger than us, but we rebounded well.”
West Mifflin tied it on a steal and layup by Cairns with 2:29 left, but TJ would answer in a big way.
Yanief drove through the lane for two to make it 41-39 before putting the game away at the foul line.
The Lady Jaguars hit 9 of 10 foul shots over the final 98 seconds to come away with the upset.
“That was the key,” DiMattia said. “We had to make the foul shots because you knew they were going to foul. This was a good win — a win that we needed.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- BVA drops opener, 72-56
- Fourth quarter sinks Charleroi
- Monessen falters late, 68-63
- Connellsville pulls away in 3rd quarter to beat Baldwin
- High school roundup: Vincentian’s Wolf scores 46 in victory
- Perz scores game-high 33 to lift Norwin past Monessen
- Versatile Dedert leads Plum boys past Kiski Area
- Girls teams from Karns City, Redbank Valley have title aspirations
- Daily News roundup: McKeesport boys edge Shaler
- Franklin Regional girls win tournament crown
- Greensburg high school roundup: Uniontown tops Belle Vernon