TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mt. Pleasant girls learn lesson against No. 1 Blackhawk

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Justin Criado
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, 10:18 p.m.
 

After a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Belle Vernon in the WPIAL Class AAA first round, Scott Giacobbi and his Mt. Pleasant squad knew drawing top-seeded Blackhawk would be the toughest test yet.

“We saw this an opportunity,” Giacobbi said. “We tried to take advantage of that.”

Try as they did, the Vikings came up short and were knocked out of the WPIAL playoffs with a 69-48 quarterfinal loss Saturday afternoon at North Allegheny.

“We tried to show some heart there and continue to get in the game,” Giacobbi said. “Quite honestly you're here to compete in a contest and you don't ever want to quit no matter what it says up on the board.”

Because the top six WPIAL finishers qualify for the state playoffs, Mt. Pleasant will advance to the PIAA Tournament if Blackhawk reaches the WPIAL finals.

“If they go out and execute like they can, we should stand a pretty good shot of following them into the state playoffs,” Giacobbi said.

Blackhawk (21-2) jumped out to an early lead, starting the game on a 7-0 run before taking a 38-21 lead into half. Do-it-all junior Chassidy Omogrosso led Blackhawk with 29 points, including five 3-pointers as the Cougars controlled the court for most of the game.

“I think our energy from the first quarter was great,” Blackhawk coach Steve Lodovico said. “We tried to use our speed to get the ball up and down the floor.”

Giacobbi's first priority was to limit Blackhawk's offensive penetration, which is the basis of the Cougars' offensive attack.

“What we wanted to do to the greatest extent possible was slow their penetrations,” Giacobbi said. “They make everything happen from that penetration, whether it's on the glass or kicked to one of their good shooters. We were spotty with that effort.”

Starting the second half like the first, Blackhawk built a 29-point lead midway through the third quarter. Courtney Vannoy added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars, while Halle Denman chipped in with 10 points.

Despite the deficit, Mt. Pleasant (15-9) fought until the final buzzer, holding Blackhawk to seven points in the final frame. Junior Alexa Szelong led the Vikings with 18 points, including three 3-pointers.

“We played four quarters,” Szelong said. “Even though we were down by how many, nobody gave up.”

For a program that hasn't missed the postseason in nearly a decade, a playoff game against a powerhouse like Blackhawk will serve as a lesson for a team that returns three starters out of Section 3-AAA.

“We're going to learn from the mistakes we made today,” Szelong said.

Justin Criado is a freelance writer.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Basketball

  1. Knoch’s Hannes already testing surgically repaired knee
  2. Riverview hires Sapotichne to coach boys basketball
  3. Penn Hills graduate looks forward to playing basketball at Cheyney
  4. New Deer Lakes boys basketball coach Parham is eager to get going
  5. Gateway girls basketball coach to take over Shaler
  6. Springdale hires veteran assistant for girls basketball post