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Serra Catholic girls continue trend of lopsided victories

| Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, 11:33 p.m.

Not that long ago, a Serra Catholic vs. Monessen girls basketball game would fill a gymnasium with ease.

Not that long ago, it was Serra coach Bill Cleary racing out of the gymnasium to question a last-second non-call that resulted in a tough home court loss.

Not that long ago, Serra and Monessen played against each other for the Class A title three times in a four year span.

Serra and Monessen was the best rivalry in Single-A girls basketball for a good while.

Well, not anymore.

Serra continued the trend of lopsided games between the once bitter rivals with a convincing 55-15 win over Monessen in front of a near empty gymnasium to stay on top of the Section 4-A standings.

It was second-ranked Serra's (16-1, 7-0) 15th straight win and the fourth time the Eagles held an opponent to 15 points or fewer — two of those have come against Monessen (3-12, 2-5).

“An empty gym on a night like this never used to happen,” Cleary said. “To me it is still a rivalry. It's Monessen. I've been here for pretty much every game we've had against them. I've been on the other side of these as well.”

Serra beat Monessen in the 2003 title game and lost to the Greyhounds in 2004 and 2006, but the games have been one-sided since the two were put into the same section four years ago.

The teams have split their past eight meetings, with Monessen winning three by 30 points. Serra has won the last four meetings by an average of 39 points.

“Monessen still plays hard and (Monessen coach) Gina (Naccarato) still is coaching them up, but they are just a little offensively challenged,” Cleary said.

Serra had little problem with Monessen scoring the first eight points before opening a 20-6 first-quarter lead and a 33-8 halftime advantage. Serra led 51-11 after three, kicking in the mercy rule for the fourth quarter.

Serra had eight players score at least four points, led by Katie Sieg's 10 while 6-foot-4 sophomore Felica Moon added 10 rebounds and eight blocks off the bench. Monessen got seven points from Mariha Johnson and six from Teraee Bradford.

“I was really pleased with the ball movement in the half-court offense; we pushed it up well and found people on the break,” Cleary said. “The best thing was our defense in the second half. We didn't do anything fancy. We just dug down and played defense.”

The blowout win was just another in a long line of lopsided victories for Serra. The Eagles are beating teams by an average of 34 points per game. In Section 4-A, they are winning by 45 points per game.

“We try to get something out of it,” Cleary said. “We just play who is on our schedule. I am sure it is frustrating for the girls, but we have to just keeping playing them.”

Serra has a nonsection game with Class AAA Belle Vernon (13-4) Tuesday, but impending poor weather could wipe that out.

“We want to play the game because we want to play against good competition,” Cleary said.

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