No practice makes perfect, Mt.Lebanon rolls past Upper St. Clair
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Every night in this section is a battle, Mt. Lebanon girls basketball coach Dori Oldaker insisted.
But not like this.
Despite having zero practices — and no scouting report — entering Monday's Section 4-AAAA road game at Upper St. Clair, top-ranked Mt. Lebanon found success inside on offense and defense and rolled to a 62-49 victory over the Panthers.
“Our schedule right now is pretty brutal this month,” senior forward Christine Ehland said. “We have a bunch of games in a row and not a lot of preparation. But under the circumstances, I think it was a great win.”
Because of last week's Polar vortex, Mt. Lebanon played Chartiers Valley on Wednesday, Baldwin Thursday and used Friday to prepare for Saturday's tournament game in Philadelphia against Central Bucks West.
No practice is allowed Sunday, pretty much leaving Mt. Lebanon with the 15-minute bus ride down Washington Road to get ready.
“We know the girls,” senior guard Margie McCaffrey said. “We play AAU with them. But it was hard because we didn't know their plays.”
McCaffrey scored a game-high 18 points, Ehland added 17 and 11 rebounds, as Mt. Lebanon (9-3, 5-0) slid into sole possession of first place in the section with Baldwin's upset win over Bethel Park.
Maura Wallace contributed 15 points for a Blue Devils team that held Upper St. Clair's Rachel Mazzie to nine points — about seven below her season average.
“They just wear you down,” said Upper St. Clair coach Ernie Koontz, shortly after pointing to Mt. Lebanon's shot chart, which showed a lot of pencil marks around the hoop.
“We were pretty happy with our bigs,” Oldaker said. “But, again, it's our guards distributing it to them.”
Mt. Lebanon jumped out to an 11-4 lead before the Panthers answered with an 8-0 run to pull ahead, 12-11, on a basket inside from Elayna Kaylor.
McCaffrey put Mt. Lebanon ahead after one, 13-12, with a floater as time expired.
McCaffrey scored five points in the second quarter, as the Blue Devils outscored Upper St. Clair by seven to take a 26-18 lead at the break.
Ehland took over in the third, scoring seven of her points to help Mt. Lebanon build a 44-31 advantage entering the fourth.
Upper St. Clair trimmed the deficit to 10 a couple times, but the Panthers (9-3, 4-2) never could make the final push.
Diandra Conwell scored 13 points for Upper St. Clair. Kaylor had 12 and Madison Serio 10. But none of that was enough to keep pace with what Ehland, McCaffrey and Wallace were able to do around the basket.
It also didn't hurt that Mt. Lebanon was 21 of 24 on free throws.
“With their length and their size, they disrupted our offense,” Koontz said. “Then with their length, you see the shot chart … enough said.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.