Ladies night in the Grebb League
Monday was a memorable night at the Mechanic Street Playground in California as the girls made their debut in the J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League with a doubleheader.
The Grebb League has been around for five years, but this was the first time the girls cut the sleeves off their shirts and laced up the sneakers, just like their male counterparts.
While it was a big debut for the league, it was also a big debut for the biggest girl on the court, Belle Vernon Area's Kaitlyn Slagus.
Slagus dominated in every aspect of the game, leading Fredericktown Butcher Shop to a 53-36 win over Lagerheads.
Slagus, who will be entering her junior year for the Lady Leps, scored 16 points in the first half en route to a game-high 28. She had an unofficial tally of 15 rebounds and at least seven blocks. Her BVA teammate, Bria Rathway, added seven points for the Butcher Shop, which led 30-21 at the half.
The California Area duo of Ashley Holt and Bailey Vig combined for 30 of their team's 36 points. Holt nailed two 3-pointers on her way to a 17-point night, while Vig finished with 13 points. Lagerheads played without its first-round pick, Brownsville's Maris Seto.
Bitonti's Barristers 49,Tommy Thomas State Farm 32
In the inaugural game of the night, a short-handed Bitonti's team outlasted Tommy Thomas' State Farm 49-32.
It was BVA's Meaghan Murphy who dominated for Bitonti's, scoring 17 points. Nine of those came in the first half, with seven during a 17-2 run that vaulted her team to the lead it never relinquished.
Teammate Caitlyn Trombley, also a BVA product, scored 13 for Bitonti's, including eight points in the first half.
Thanks to the long run in the first half, Bitonti's, which played with just six players, jumped to a 29-15 halftime lead.
Leading the way for State Farm was Charleroi Area's Mia Woytovich with 19 points, including the first ever, girls' division basket, a 3-pointer from the wing early in the first half.
The league's top overall pick, Kylie Huffman, a freshman at California Area, finished with just two points, but assisted on a number of her team's baskets after being forced to play out of position for most of the game.
Girls' Division Director Melanie Greco was highly impressed with what she saw on the league's first night of action.
“I'm very pleased,” Greco said. “There were a lot of good things. In the first game, you can see the senior leadership of Mia (Woytovich) helping guide and lead her team.
“There was a lot of power out there tonight too ... I was real impressed with the play of the big girls. Meaghan (Murphy) in that first game and Kaitlyn (Slagus) in that second game. They were just awesome out there.”
Greco was also impressed with the play of the girls who are only entering eighth grade next year.
“Those younger girls showed they weren't afraid of getting out there with the big and older girls,” she said. “They held their own. I'm very proud of the way all the girls played tonight.”
Former Monessen and Notre Dame star Charel Allen, coach of Tommy Thomas' State Farm, summed up the evening.
“This is a really great thing that's going on here tonight,” Allen said. “I wish they had this when I was in school. It's great that it's here in this area. It's only going to help the girls develop their games.”
The league continues Wednesday with another doubleheader. Lagerheads (0-1) will take on Tommy Thomas' State Farm (0-1) at 7 p.m., with Bitonti's (1-0) and Fredericktown Butcher Shop (1-0) meeting at 8 p.m.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2667.