Share This Page

Late rally can't shake Shady Side Academy girls basketball team

| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 11:54 p.m.
South Allegheny's Abby Dranko drives for a layup against Shady Side Academy's Gab Harchelroad (32) and Audrey Koi (15) on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Ronald Vezzani Jr./Daily News

South Allegheny has been in close section games all season, only to have its inexperience show up at the most inopportune times.

Shady Side Academy (6-9, 4-4 Section 3-AA) became the latest team to expose that key weakness in the Gladiators as the Indians held off a late flurry to come away with a 37-32 victory.

“We definitely had some good looks at the end, but the ball just wasn't falling for us,” South Allegheny coach Ashleigh Hays said. “We didn't want to have it come down to one possession again.”

South Allegheny (7-9, 2-6) trailed, 35-30, with a little more than a minute remaining, but appeared to have Shady Side Academy on the ropes. The Gladiators forced a pair of turnovers but missed two layups that could have made it a one-possession game.

Finally, South Allegheny forward Allison Couch was able to convert on a Shady Side Academy miscue when she converted a two-shot foul to cut the deficit to 35-32 with 38.9 seconds remaining. The Indians failed on the front ends of two one-and-ones that would have closed it out, so the Gladiators still had hope on their final possession.

South Allegheny got the ball to its leading scorer, Jaylee Patterson, for three attempts at 3-pointers, but the first was blocked out of bounds from behind and the other two caromed off the rim. Shady Side Academy finally corralled a rebound with 0.6 seconds remaining and, after a failed free-throw attempt, Audrey Koi hit a putback at the buzzer to close it out.

“We survived,” Shady Side Academy coach Audrey Scott said. “Defensively, we were trying to challenge their outside shots and not give them any threes. Once we got under a minute and they weren't getting threes, I figured we'd hit our foul shots and we'd be OK.”

Considering that both teams were on the outside looking in at the WPIAL Class AA playoffs coming into the game, both knew the necessity of a key win Tuesday night. They also knew their how much their desperation had been magnified after Riverview pulled off a dramatic upset of first-place Jeannette on Monday.

“I knew that South Allegheny had improved tremendously because I'd been looking at their scores in the paper, and I saw they beat Springdale, and I knew this was not going to be an easy game,” Scott said. “I told my kids before the game that every single game is a playoff game and we're not in the playoffs (yet), and it's just about surviving these next few games.”

Though the game came down to its last possession, South Allegheny had an opportunity to put the game away in the first half. The Gladiators shrugged off an early Shady Side Academy lead and went on an 11-2 run to take a 17-11 lead as Patterson, who led the team with 11 points, scored seven in that tear and capped it with her only 3-pointer with 2:05 remaining in the first half.

That was also where Shady Side Academy turned the game completely in its favor. The Indians closed the half on a 7-0 run aided by four Gladiators turnovers, then scored the first six of the third quarter for a 24-17 lead.

“I think the end of the second quarter is where we lost momentum a little bit and never really got it back,” Hays said. “I think we kept fighting to get it back after that. We've had it where its coming down to one possession, but we want to get it to where it's not coming down to one possession and keep the momentum and keep the lead.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kbarnes@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

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.