Serra Catholic girls cruise to win over Clairton
Looking at the remaining schedule and realizing nobody in Section 4-A averages more than 40 points per game — and also accepting the fact that there's going to be a couple of more 85-27 whippings like Serra Catholic handed Clairton on Thursday — Bill Cleary had no choice but to alter his quarter-century philosophy on his approach to basketball.
Over the final month of the season, Serra's going to become selfish.
And really, they have no choice.
Instead of worrying about its lesser opponents, Serra is going to focus on what they are doing and how they are doing it.
That's what the No. 2-ranked Class A team did against winless Clairton, and it resulted in the Eagles' most lopsided win of the year.
“The things we want to accomplish each night when we take the floor, we are going to make sure we do that,” Cleary said. “Stuff like: Are we seeing the floor? Are we finding the open spot? Are we getting the ball reversed? All those things.”
Serra (9-1, 2-0) did all of those things, along with shooting lights out. Serra scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back. The Eagles led 27-4 after the first quarter and extended their lead to 43 by halftime.
Serra shot 70 percent in the first half and forced 28 turnovers (38 for the game.)
“We executed very well offensively,” Cleary said. “The ball moved well, and we shot it well.”
Leslie Hoye led Serra with 20 points, and Nicole Pero added 13, Felicia Moon 12, Megan Sieg 11 and Danielle Dindak 11.
Clairton (0-9, 0-1) got 10 points from DeShawna Stewart.
“It's tough,” Clairton coach Charles Shealey said. “People don't understand what I am working with here. I have to keep motivating them and keep sticking with it.”
Even though Clairton trailed by as many 60 in fourth quarter, the Bears never gave up.
Clairton played the fourth quarter even at 15-15, albeit against Serra's backups.
To Shealey, that's a win.
“What I try to get across to them is that a winner never quits,” Shealey said. “And if I don't keep motivating them and if they see me give up, they are going to give up automatically.
“I preach to them that no matter what the score is, you can't give up.”
Under the circumstances, Cleary was impressed with Clairton's determination.
“He gets them to play,” Cleary said. “They are young, and they played hard all night long. He is teaching them to hang in there, and it is not about the result more than the process.”
Serra now turns its attention to the final month of the season where there isn't expected to be much competition other than a nonsection game against Class AAA Belle Vernon.
It's the same predicament Serra went through last year, which ultimately ended with a Class A championship game berth.
“We've been through it before,” Cleary said. “There's nothing you can really do but make sure you do what you need to do to get better.”