South Park girls dispatch Hopewell in Class AAA semifinal blowout
After losing to Hopewell in the 2012 WPIAL Class AAA championship game and Jan. 19 in the Pittsburgh Classic, the South Park girls basketball team needed something special when it took on the Vikings in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals.
All the girls did was make it personal.
“After last year we were really upset and we knew we had to get back at them, and after losing to them a month ago we really had to get back at them,” South Park junior forward Halie Torris said. “The last time we were up by like 20 and they came back and beat us, so we knew we had to keep coming for all four quarters.”
South Park (22-2) never stopped pressing the attack against Hopewell (21-4). Torris and Shelby Lindsey each scored 23 points to lead the third-seeded Eagles back to the WPIAL Class AAA championship game with a 75-55 victory over the No. 2 Vikings at West Allegheny.
“This was very personal,” South Park coach Reggie Wells said. “We had to make it personal, because you can't just go out there and run up and down, because they're competitors.”
Like she has so many times this season, senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough almost single-handedly willed Hopewell back into the game. The Maryland recruit scored a game-high 39 points, including 15 points in a desperation comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, but she was fighting an uphill battle after South Park opened up a 31-point lead in the third quarter.
“In the past, what would happen is she would outscore our top three scorers, and we just couldn't let that happen again,” Wells said. “She's going to get hers, and we knew we would have to get 70 from our top three scorers if we had to get going.”
South Park didn't quite get 70 out of its top three, but with 46 from Torris and Lindsay and another 19 from Allison McGrath, the 65 points was enough to make the difference. It also helped that the Eagles shot 50.9 percent (28 of 55) from the floor in the game, including 15 of 27 (55.6 percent) in the first half, which gave them a 38-20 lead at the intermission.
“They made their shots when they had to, and you have to give them credit: They played an exceptional game,” Hopewell coach Jeff Homziak said. “They beat us on the boards, they got to loose balls and they were just a lot quicker and more in position than we were. They played an excellent game, and they're deserving of going on and playing in the championship.”