State title leaves Lindsay, South Park with nothing to prove
HERSHEY — South Park has nothing left to prove.
And neither should its star senior.
Shelby Lindsay scored 20 points and led South Park to a 53-38 victory Saturday over Bethlehem Catholic in the PIAA Class AAA championship game at Giant Center in Hershey. Her coach was pleased that the under-recruited, four-year starter finished with success on the biggest stage.
“Just to seal her legacy because she's been so good for so many years,” South Park coach Reggie Wells said. “People had doubted her a little bit, but in every single game we played, she stepped it up more and more. I think it just shows how good she really is, and everybody got to see her.”
A 5-foot-11 guard, Lindsay made 8 of 13 shots, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, and had five steals. She scored 12 of South Park's first 20 points. Her 3-pointer with 5:24 left in the second quarter gave the Eagles a 20-10 lead.
“She really plays like she has something to prove,” Wells said. “There's nothing wrong with that, to play with a chip on your shoulder. A lot of schools might have passed on her, but I think everything will work out for her now.”
But the out-to-prove-something attitude didn't include just Lindsay this season. South Park proved itself to be the best in the WPIAL with a victory at Palumbo Center, proved it finally could beat thorn-in-its-side Hopewell and, Saturday, proved itself to be the best Triple-A team in the state.
“We all had something to prove,” Lindsay said. “It wasn't just me. ... We proved we're state champs.”
Freshman forward Allison McGrath had 10 points for South Park (28-2), which was playing in its first state championship.
Sophomore star Kalista Walters had 22 points for Bethlehem Catholic (28-3), the District 11 champion. The career 1,000-point scorer made just 7 of 16 shots. But her teammates fared worse, making just 4 of 34. Bethlehem Catholic missed all 10 of its 3-point shots.
“We made her work for everything,” Wells said. “It seemed like they kind of got out of rhythm. They usually shoot better than that ... but they kept looking for her the whole time.”
South Park defended well against the inside game of Bethlehem Catholic forward Bridget Smith. The 6-foot senior had 14 rebounds but made just 2 of 10 shots. That shifted pressure to guards Nicole Lacherza and Janelle Robinson, who missed all 13 of their shots.
Lindsay pushed South Park to a 14-6 first-quarter lead. The Eagles led, 26-16, at halftime and, 43-26, after three.
“We definitely didn't want to wait around,” Lindsay said. “When you play a good team, it could be anyone's game if you're the one on your heels.”
Instead, Lindsay's fiery start had South Park's opponent on its heels.
“Our team really responds to that,” Wells said, “and it helps the other ones loosen up knowing she's coming with that fire in her eyes.”