Upper St. Clair upsets Hempfield girls
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Hempfield's struggles in the WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball playoffs continued Friday at North Allegheny.
Upper St. Clair upset the fourth-seeded Spartans (19-4), 53-48, in a first-round game. The Panthers also defeated Hempfield, 44-42, in the 2012 quarterfinals.
The Panthers (12-11) overcame a 10-point third-quarter deficit to advance to the quarterfinals.
Rachel Mazzie, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, scored 15 of her team-high 17 points in the second half to rally the Panthers.
She scored nine in the fourth quarter, including a jumper with 1:33 left that gave Upper St. Clair the lead for good at 48-46. She added another basket with 47.7 seconds left to push the lead to 50-46.
“Once we got the lead in the fourth quarter, I thought we'd win,” Upper St. Clair coach Ernie Koontz said. “We have three girls who are 75 percent or better foul shooters.”
Upper St. Clair led, 46-41, with 2:50 left after a 3-pointer by DiAndra Conwell, but a basket by Jasmine Jones and a 3-pointer by Monica Burns with 1:51 left tied the score at 46-46.
That's when Mazzie took over.
“Upper St. Clair just stepped up its play in the second half defensively and pressured us, and we panicked,” Hempfield coach Aaron Epps said. “The game came down to rebounding, and we just didn't do it well enough. It's been a problem all season.”
Hempfield led, 12-11, after one quarter as Burns and Leah Knizner each scored six points, and it stretched its lead to 22-16 at halftime. Knizner scored all 10 of her points in the first half, and Upper St. Clair shot poorly and had 10 turnovers.
Burns led Hempfield with 17 points.
“We had to hold our own in the first half,” Koontz said. “We went triangle-and-two, and we slowed them down. That allowed us to play a more aggressive man-to-man in the second half.
“Once we got into that up tempo and created pressure, we like to go baseline to baseline.”
Hempfield was able to push the lead to 30-20 with 5:33 left in the third quarter on follows by Jones and Lea Scozio.
The Panthers, however, closed with a 16-9 run to trim the deficit to 39-36.
Upper St. Clair finally caught Hempfield when Madison Serio hit a 3-pointer with 4:34 left to tie the score at 41.
Serio's basket gave Upper St. Clair a 43-41 lead.
Jordan Serio added 13 points for USC.
“In a playoff game, you need to do the little things,” Epps said. “We didn't get a rebound when we needed. We were tipping them too much.”
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.