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Burrell girls basketball team blows out Shenango

Dan Speicher | For Valley News Dispatch
Natalie Myers of Burrell looks for room to shoot against Shenango on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, during the first round of the WPIAL playoffs at Plum. Burrell advanced to the next round with a 68-25 win.

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Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, 10:29 p.m.

Burrell didn't have school Tuesday because of winter weather, so the girls basketball team decided to go out for breakfast.

The Bucs had Shenango for lunch.

Burrell brushed off a slow start before shifting to cruise control in a 68-25 victory over Shenango in a WPIAL Class AA first-round game at Plum.

No. 2 seed Burrell (23-0) advanced to play No. 7 McGuffey (20-3) on Friday at a time and site to be determined in a quarterfinal rematch.

Burrell beat McGuffey, 61-41, in last year's second round.

The Bucs had one of their two scrimmages canceled by bad weather, so the team had seen somewhat limited action during a nine-day layoff.

But before long, the No. 2 seed had Shenango (13-10) plowed into a parking spot with nowhere to go.

“I think we need to learn to come out stronger, especially if we want to go far (in the playoffs),” said Burrell senior center Jess Cercone, who scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, joining teammate Natalie Myers (14 points, 10 rebounds) with a double-double. “We watched some film (on Shenango) and knew me and Nat would have a size advantage.”

This one had all the classic ingredients of a typical Burrell win: pressure defense, transition baskets, crisp passing and strong offensive rebounding.

And zero-to-100 speed that had the scoreboard looking like an odometer.

Sydney Bordonaro added 14 points and Jaila Manga chipped in 10 for Burrell, which completed the first step in what is expected to be another lengthy playoff run.

“We have a goal in mind of what we want to accomplish,” Cercone said. “But we have to take it one game at a time.”

After scoring a quick hoop early, Shenango had to work for everything.

“I think there was a little nerves today,” Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski said. “We hadn't played so long so there was that anticipation leading up to it.”

Burrell led 17-2 after the first quarter and 36-14 at the half. But a 20-4 third-quarter charge that saw Shenango go without a field goal for nearly nine minutes.

When Burrell's lead got into the 40s, Ziemianski cleared the bench. Burrell had eight players score in the win.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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