Elizabeth Forward girls out to avenge losses to South Park
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Immediately after his team defeated Hopewell in the first of two WPIAL Class AAA semifinals, South Park coach Reggie Wells took a quick look ahead to the potential finals matchup.
“We have to (refocus) right away because we know that's a monster out there,” Wells said. “We know what's in store for us if we don't get focused right now.”
That would be pretty high praise for an Elizabeth Forward team that South Park defeated by 25 in their first meeting less than a month ago. But Wells was talking about Blackhawk, the No. 1 seed that was, at the time, the lone remaining undefeated team in the tournament.
And it was well before Elizabeth Forward (23-2) pulled off the biggest upset in the girls draw with a 78-64 victory over the Cougars that propelled the Warriors into their first championship game since losing, 51-26, to Penn Hills in the Class AAAA final in 1990. The Warriors are in line for their first title since 1975 when they face South Park at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Palumbo Center.
Wells did add a caveat saying, “You never know. People didn't think we would win (Wednesday), but you never know because they've got a pretty good team, too. They only lost two games.”
But he wasn't the only one who thought Blackhawk would have its way with the Warriors. After all, the Cougars had rolled through two Section 4 teams, West Mifflin and Belle Vernon — teams Elizabeth Forward had problems with during the regular season — in their first two playoff games.
In Elizabeth Forward, South Park (22-2) gets a team it is extraordinarily familiar with. In fact, it might be more apt to say the Eagles own the Warriors.
Since South Park moved up to Class AAA in the 2008-09 school year, the Eagles are 8-0 against Elizabeth Forward, including a 59-27 win in the first round of the 2009 WPIAL playoffs. They also have averaged 62.6 points in those eight games while allowing just 35.8.
All those losses, however, have motivated Elizabeth Forward like nothing else could.
“We're going for revenge,” Elizabeth Forward guard Alison Pastore said. “We know they beat us by 25 the first time, but on any day, any team can beat any other team.”
Pastore scored a game-high 23 points against Blackhawk, while forward Natalie Fekula added 20 and Dana Buck chipped in 14, but those three were relatively quiet in the 60-35 loss to South Park on Feb. 11. Buck and Fekula combined for 12 points in that game.
Elizabeth Forward also has to figure out a way to contain freshman forward Allison McGrath, who had a game-high 24 in the first meeting and scored 19 against Hopewell in the semifinals. The Warriors also have to be cognizant of senior Shelby Lindsay and junior Halie Torris, both of whom scored 23 against the Vikings and were in double figures in the first meeting.
“You have to have a short memory in the game of basketball, and you can't worry about the past,” Elizabeth Forward coach Sam Kosanovich said. “We have another day to compete and hopefully we do better.”
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.