Dixon's big second half leads Steel Valley to preliminary-round win
By Keith Barnes
Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 9:15 p.m.
Avonworth came up with a solid game plan to contain Steel Valley senior CeCe Dixon when the two teams faced off Friday in the preliminary round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Well, for a half anyway.
Dixon, the Ironmen's leading scorer, scored 21 of her game-high 23 points in the second half as Steel Valley (15-7) rolled to a 59-34 victory over Avonworth (13-9) at Peters Township.
“Everyone just picked their game up, and it's really great that we have the players that can do that,” said Steel Valley senior forward Melissa Cerda, who had seven points and nine rebounds. “It just shows everyone that we have other people, as well.”
Dixon was held to only two points in the first half as she spent considerable time on the bench with two fouls.
Despite that, things started well for Steel Valley as Cayley Labishak, who scored 11 of her 13 in the first half, hit a 3-pointer from the right side of the arc 17 seconds into the game.
But it was nearly seven minutes before the team scored again.
Steel Valley went 0 for 11 from the floor with four turnovers over the next 6:56.
“In the first half, they were putting two girls on CeCe ,and it opened things up for our guards, and a lot of people don't realize that we have some good-shooting guards,” Steel Valley coach Kelly Sabo said. “We have some girls that can really stick it, and we have some girls underneath that battled. (We) won the game on the boards, and it was just a matter of time until CeCe gets hot.”
It was a golden opportunity for Avonworth to take control of the game, but the Lopes were having their own problems. They missed their first four shots from the field and turned the ball over four times before Mackenzie Mayernik hit the team's first field goal on a putback to give them a 6-3 lead with 2:36 left in the first quarter.
They had scored their first four points on 4 of 4 shooting from the line.
Neither team shot well in the first half as Steel Valley made only 8 of 30 (26.7 percent) and Avonworth converted just 7 of 23 (30.4), but the Ironmen were helped out by five threes — three by Labishak and the other two by Lacey Gori, who finished with 11 — as they took a 26-22 lead into halftime.
After that, it was all Dixon as she scored six points in the third quarter and dominated inside with nine of her 13 rebounds after thalftime.
Considering this was a preliminary-round game, however, the challenge for Steel Valley will increase.
The Ironmen will take on fifth-seeded Jeannette (15-6) and the WPIAL's leading scorer, Charlotte recruit Ciara Gregory (30.4 ppg).
And these teams have a history as the Jayhawks knocked the Ironmen out of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs in 2011 with a 70-66 victory at Gateway.
“For me, it's about the battle with Jeannette, not her,” Cerda said. “They beat us in the playoffs two years ago, and we still remember that.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_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.
- Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice
- Greensburg Central Catholic boys roll past Bald Eagle in PIAA opener
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- Blackhawk fights past sloppy 1st half to beat Mercyhurst
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Kiski Area shrugs off 54-point semifinal loss, refocuses on PIAA playoffs
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win
- Another tall task for Greyhounds