GCC girls oust District 6 champion Blairsville
TribLIVE Sports Videos
EBENSBURG — During the regular season, Class AA Greensburg Central Catholic got the best of higher-classed opponents for the majority of the time — 2-1 against Class AAAA schools and 4-2 versus Class AAA teams — and won 10 of its 12 Section 3-AA games.
That success prepared the Centurions for tough games like this.
Devon Larkin scored 20 points and GCC pulled away in the second half to oust District 6 champion Blairsville from the PIAA playoffs with a 58-39 first-round victory on Friday at Central Cambria High School, handing the Bobcats just their second loss of the season.
“You gamble a little bit when you schedule tough games,” GCC coach Chris Kallock said. “It paid off for us because you can't mimic the speed of Blairsville's guards. I expected a tight game, and it was for much of the time.”
GCC (18-7) outscored Blairsville, 32-15, in the second half after clinging to a 26-24 halftime lead. Carolyn Appleby added 12 points for the Centurions, the WPIAL's sixth-place team who advance to meet Seton-La Salle in the PIAA second round.
Mackenzie Livingston's 13 points led Blairsville (24-2), which shot just 12 for 23 from the foul line after going 23 for 25 in a 71-61 victory over Bellwood-Antis in the District 6 championship game.
“This team, these seniors have been great,” Blairsville coach Ralph McGinnis said. “They can't remember this day. They've got to leave here proud. Our goal was to play Seton-La Salle. We were one game short.”
GCC overcame a sluggish start to take a 12-9 lead after the first quarter. The Centurions survived a Blairsville surge in the second quarter to hold a two-point halftime advantage before opening up an eight-point lead in the third.
They pushed it to 41-31 early in the fourth quarter on basket by Larkin.
Blairsville cut the margin to nine on two occasions before GCC went on a 12-0 run to take a 58-37 lead, finishing the fourth quarter 9 for 11 from the foul line and 14 for 18 overall.
“We were executing so well,” McGinnis said. “We just didn't have the size to match up with them.”
Sophomore Chelsey Koren, who scored 23 points in Blairsville's District 6 title game victory, managed just nine against GCC. She was the Bobcats' tallest player at 5 feet 11.
Two GCC starters — 6-2 Larkin and 6-1 Leah Bisignani — were taller than 6 foot.
McGinnis, who completed his first season at Blairsville after leading Richland to the District 6-AAA championship game in 2012, loses three starters among four seniors this season. He said he has begun upgrading Blairsville's schedule for the next year.
The Bobcats, who won their first Class AA/A Heritage Conference championship, are set to play in tournaments next season featuring Bishop Guilfoyle, Delone Catholic, Hollidaysburg and Bellwood-Antis.
“Our schedule was weak this year,” McGinnis said. “We got a late start with it this year, but we're already looking at next year. We want to play the best teams and see where we measure up.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Fox Chapel boys basketball team will rely on rotation for scoring
- Athletic McKeesport boys basketball team features new coach, up-tempo style
- Deer Lakes girls basketball set for AAA competition
- McKeesport girls basketball team healthy, anxious to start new season
- Deer Lakes boys move into tough Class AAA section
- 6-foot-8 transfer bolsters Cheswick Christian boys lineup
- Ford City, Kittanning winter teams look forward to ‘last ride’ before school merger
- With starters back, Geibel boys basketball team expects big improvement
- Fox Chapel grad Papich makes jump into coaching
- Southmoreland girls hope to compete despite shorthanded roster
- Frazier grad Poling set to coach school’s girls basketball team