Quick start leads Mt. Lebanon to PIAA second-round win
Mt. Lebanon girls basketball coach Dori Oldaker didn't want to talk about Friday's upcoming PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal-round game against Section 4 rival Chartiers Valley.
That's because she wanted to talk more about her team's defensive effort Tuesday night, when the Blue Devils (24-3) raced out to a 20-1 lead and cruised to a 59-36 victory over Penn-Trafford (20-6) in a PIAA second-round game at Baldwin.
Mt. Lebanon's height in the frontcourt was the difference, as Madeline Collins, Christine Ehland and Jordan Holmes, all 6-foot-1 forwards, did a great job altering shots, blocking shots and dominating the boards.
Holmes had seven blocks and 14 rebounds, Collins had two blocked shots and 13 points and Ehland had eight rebounds and 12 points.
Alex Ventrone, who had 12 points in the first half when Mt. Lebanon jumped out to a 36-14 lead, finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
“We hadn't played a very good playoff game yet this year,” Oldaker said. “We haven't been ourselves yet. We really wanted to impose our defense on another team, and we came out offensively and played well.”
A basket by Collins and a 3-pointer by Margie McCaffrey got Mt. Lebanon off and running.
Meanwhile, Penn-Trafford couldn't buy a basket. They Warriors were 0 for 11 from the floor in the first quarter. Senior Taylor Cortazzo, who had 13 points, hit a 3-pointer with 6:11 left in the second quarter for the Warriors' first basket. By then Mt. Lebanon was up 20-1.
“I was really happy with the way our bigs performed,” Oldaker said. “They were looking to score and Alex was feeling it. I'm so happy for her, she's been battling a cold for so long. She's finally herself again.”
Penn-Trafford never could make a run at Mt. Lebanon, which maintained a 20-point advantage throughout the second half.
“The first quarter was where the game was decided,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said. “We had our chances, but give them credit because they altered some of our shots and they made theirs.
“We kept battling, but we just couldn't get anything to fall. It wasn't from a lack of effort. Their size was a big factor. We attacked well, but they are long and they contested shots. Not too many teams can do that.”
Chartiers Valley, which upset Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL semifinals, defeated Gateway, 53-42, Tuesday. Mt. Lebanon won both games against the rival during the regular season.