Barrett scores 28 as Central Valley rallies past Mars
It was a familiar story for the Central Valley girls basketball team Wednesday.
Senior guard Seairra Barrett scored a game-high 28 points, and fellow senior Kiana Law added 15 to lead the Warriors (15-7) to a come-from-behind 53-45 win over Mars (15-7) in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs at Butler.
Tenth-seeded Central Valley will move on to play No. 2 Elizabeth Forward, a 53-45 winner over Moon, on Saturday at an undetermined site and time.
The Warriors' scoring tandem took over the game in the second half, scoring 29 of their 43 combined points in the final two quarters.
“I knew we were going to win from the beginning,” Barrett said. “We never let ourselves down. We always keep pushing.”
Barrett's confidence in her team wasn't always reflected on the scoreboard, though.
After Central Valley took an early 10-7 lead, Mars used baskets from Bonnie Workman, Sara Getsy and Elise Sheehy to go on a 17-2 run, spanning the first and second quarters, to lead 24-12.
Getsy scored eight points in the run and finished with 14 to lead the Planets.
Sloppy play marred the start of the game for Central Valley, which entered halftime trailing 24-18.
“I think our whole team was tight. I don't know if it was the long bus ride over or what,” Central Valley coach Kim Tirik said. “I said to them at half, ‘We're down by six. We've been down before. As poorly as we played, being down six isn't a lot.' ”
Barrett and Law were visibly frustrated at times by the Mars defense, which sent constant double- and triple-teams their way.
“We were just trying to surround them with bodies when they had the ball, get the ball out of their hands and make it difficult to get it back to them,” Mars coach Tony Howard said. “We were scoring in the first half, which allowed us to set up a bit better. Second half we got into a little lull where we didn't score, and it gave them an opportunity to get up and down the court a little bit.”
Tirik made a noticeable adjustment at the half, albeit a bit unconventional.
“I was telling my other kids, when they're double- and triple-teaming Law and Barrett, somebody else has to step in and shoot it,” Tirik said. “I don't even care if you make it. Just get it on the rim and let them go get it.”
Even with Law battling foul trouble, she dominated the offensive glass in the second half, scoring eight second-chance points.
“Barrett and Law are a physical presence,” Tirik said. “When you look at them and then you put them on the boards down low, they're hard to block out.”
As the only players on the team with previous varsity experience, and faced with the possibility of playing their last playoff game, Barrett and Law knew they had to take the game over.
“Being seniors and leaders, we really have to do that for our younger girls so it gives them confidence,” Barrett said.
Ultimately, the play of two of those younger girls helped seal the win for the Warriors. Sophomore Sydney Sutter and junior Leah Alexander forced consecutive Mars turnovers that led to Central Valley baskets late in the fourth quarter.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.