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Class AAAA girls basketball preview: Mt. Lebanon seniors hope to end careers the way they started, as champions

| Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 6:55 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Madeleine Collins drives to the basket during practice Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Madeleine Collins (right) battles Margie McCaffrey during practice Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Christine Ehland (right) drives to the basket during practice Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Christine Ehland drives to the basket during practice Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias is a member of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2013 Terrific 10.
Submitted
Fox Chapel Area High School basketball player Erin Mathias received the KDKA-TV and Allegheny Health Network Extra Effort Award on Friday. She is pictured with Coach Meghan Meabon.

Margie McCaffrey doesn't want to sound cocky or conceited.

The Mt. Lebanon girls basketball team's senior point guard also doesn't want to get complacent.

Despite finishing 24-4 last season, the Blue Devils did not win a WPIAL or PIAA title, the first time since 2007-08 that's happened.

No surprise, it doesn't sit well with McCaffrey or the other five members of this year's senior class.

“I know we're very fortunate, and maybe it sounds bad,” McCaffrey said. “But we want to get back there. I feel like we haven't been there in a while.

“I know I want to get back to Palumbo or back to states and take home a medal.”

Mt. Lebanon has as good of a shot as anybody this year in wide-open Class AAAA.

Bethel Park won its first WPIAL title last season, but two seniors graduated and three key returners are out for the season with torn ACLs. One of them — Drexel recruit Megan Marecic — was an all-state player in 2012-13.

Senior guard/forward Laura Page and sophomore forward Alexis Taylor are the others.

Hempfield, Plum, Shaler, North Allegheny and Baldwin all return a ton, though none of those programs can match Mt. Lebanon's recent track record.

The Blue Devils are 162-20 since the start of the 2007-08 season, with three WPIAL and three PIAA Class AAAA titles.

Christine Ehland, a 6-foot-1 forward, averaged 11.3 points per game last season to lead a group of returners that also includes 6-1 senior guard/forward Madeleine Collins and McCaffrey, who contributed 4.8 assists per game.

Top rebounder Jordan Holmes (11.2 rpg) graduated. Same for Alex Ventrone, Jess Frosztega and Hannah Sharpe.

Guards Anna Miller and Silvie Rudick and forward Kylie Cook are Mt. Lebanon's other three seniors. Miller is a great defender but will have to contribute more offensively. Cook is coming off an ACL tear.

“We're looking for the seniors to guide us,” Mt. Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker said. “They have the most experience.”

Like in 2010-11, when Mt. Lebanon won a third straight state title.

Ehland and McCaffrey were reserves on that team — subbing Madison Cable and Anna Kestler — and speak often to their younger teammates about the experience.

“As seniors, we realize this is our last chance,” Ehland said. “We want to give the underclassmen a chance to experience some of the things we've experienced in the past.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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