Latrobe girls hold off Kiski Area
The Latrobe girls basketball team struggled from the field during the first half of Monday's Section 1-AAAA battle with Kiski Area.
They were getting open shots, but most were bouncing harmlessly off the rim.
Things changed in the second half thanks to sophomore guard Rachael Kollar, and the Wildcats rallied for a 46-39 victory.
The victory pushes the Wildcats to 8-7 overall and 5-4 in the section. It also puts them in position to claim a WPIAL playoff berth. Kiski Area falls to 4-12 and 3-6.
“This was one we had to get,” Latrobe coach Greg Fenton said. “But we have another big one Thursday at Albert Gallatin, and if we get that one, we'll be in good position to make the playoffs.
Albert Gallatin is 7-8 and 3-5.
“I told them to enjoy this one (tonight), but we have to get back to work on Tuesday. We have a chance for that fourth-place spot.”
But first, the Wildcats had to find a way to defeat Kiski Area. They trailed, 19-18, at halftime after being down 19-14 with 2:25 left in the half.
“We were playing good defense and forcing a lot of turnovers,” Fenton said. “We were just rushing our shots. We had them make the extra pass in the second half, and we started making them.”
In the third quarter, it was the Kollars, Rachael Kollar and freshman Madison Kollar combining for 13 points as Latrobe opened up a 26-21 lead. Rachael Kollar, who is not related to Madison, scored seven points in the quarter on three outside jumpers.
Maddy Antone, who scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, was the only scoring threat for Kiski Area.
“Maddy is one of the best players in the section,” Fenton said. “We did a good job limiting her touches. Because their guard play isn't strong, she has to bring the ball up for them sometimes, which keeps her away from the basket. If she gets the ball on the blocks, she's going to do some damage.”
Latrobe led, 33-29, after three quarters and pushed the lead to 44-33 with 53.4 seconds left on two free throws by Taley Dunaway, who scored all seven of her points in the final quarter.
“Taley is a good free-throw shooter,” Fenton said. “We wanted the ball in our hands in the fourth quarter. Rachael has a nice shot, and we needed to get her the ball in the second half.
“I was real pleased with the way the girls are playing. They hustled. I told them if they work hard, play together and do the things that you're taught within the system, we have a chance to get that playoff spot.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.