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Senior leaders pacing Quaker Valley girls in Section 6-AAA

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley senior Sierra Perlik makes a pass during a holiday tournament game against Ambridge at Ambridge High School Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley senior Rachel Smith goes for a layup during a holiday tournament game against Ambridge at Ambridge High School Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald

While some teams might struggle in the first year moving up in classifications, the Quaker Valley girls basketball team has made a seamless transition, thanks to the play of two seniors.

In its first season in WPIAL Class AAA after getting bumped up from Class AA following last year, the Quakers entered the week in second place in Section 6 with a 10-6 overall record and a 6-3 mark in the section.

That success is due in large part to the play of seniors Sierra Perlik and Rachel Smith, who are among the Class AAA leaders in scoring with 18.9 and 13.4 points per game, respectively.

“It's no secret that Sierra's probably one of the premier point guards in the WPIAL,” coach Jim Dudas said. “She can score in many different ways. She can defend on and off the ball.”

Perlik is one of the few players Dudas said he has ever felt comfortable calling out plays on her own, while Smith has a tremendous knack for rebounding, despite standing 5-foot-6.

“Rachel is probably one of the most explosive players in the WPIAL in terms of taking the ball to the basket,” Dudas said. “She really has a nose for rebounding and is a real quality kid off the court. Rachel and Sierra are in a lot of respects kind of like having an extra two assistant coaches.”

It's that kind of impressive play that allowed the Quakers to go on a four-game winning streak in January — with key section wins over Moon, Montour and Trinity — despite having only a five-player rotation due to injuries.

“The game against Moon was probably one of our better overall execution games on both sides of the ball,” Dudas said. “I think Moon is a very talented team, one of the top teams in our section. I think they're very well coached. I was very pleased with the way we composed ourselves throughout the game with their defense and the way we moved the ball on offense.”

For Smith, she is simply trying to serve as a type of leader similar to those who helped her and Perlik so much when they were freshmen.

“I remember how when me and Sierra were younger we would always look up to the seniors on the team,” she said. “So we want to be the people who they can look up to for help.”

With three section games remaining, the Quakers control their own postseason destiny, an impressive feat for the Class AAA newcomers.

“Our goals are to win all of the games that are winnable for us,” Smith said, “and right now we think the rest of our section games are winnable.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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