Penn-Trafford's outside shooting game keys win over Fox Chapel
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Fox Chapel realized how proficient Penn-Trafford was with its outside shooting going into Tuesday's WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal game.
With so many good shooters, stopping the Warriors was another matter.
Penn-Trafford hit seven 3-pointers and eight 2-point field goals en route to a 44-43 overtime victory over the Foxes at Penn Hills.
Case in point was Penn-Trafford 5-foot-10 junior Emma Mull, who came off the bench to nail a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to erase slim Fox Chapel leads.
Her first came with 3:27 left in regulation to put Penn-Trafford on top 34-33.
The Foxes retook the lead on a Gabby Badway basket, but Mull came through with another trey to put the Warriors in front 37-35.
“We needed a spark,” Warriors coach John Giannikas said. “I think they went box-and-one on Maria (Palarino). We needed somebody to step up and get out of that box, and she hit two huge 3s to propel us to the win, to be honest with you.”
Palarino led all scorers, tallying 28 of her team's 44 points. But Mull's six points can't be minimized.
“It was really nerve-wracking when I went in,” Mull said. “I went in, got my feet set and hit them.”
Mull didn't play in the first half, so mental preparation was a must until she got the call.
“The whole time on the bench, I sit there and shake, and watch the game,” Mull said.
It turned out to be the only points of the game scored by a non-starter.
“We knew they were more of an outside shooting team,” Fox Chapel coach Meghan Meabon said. “We knew we wanted to keep the ball out of Maria's hands. We made some adjustments on Maria and forced them do some other stuff, but it was too late.”
Giannikas knew that long-range shooting would be a key to victory.
“They play that zone,” Giannakis said. “You got to hit some to pull them out of it. Without the team hitting those shots, we don't win.”
Mull decided not to play basketball last year as a sophomore, but returned just in time to savor the program's first trip to the WPIAL finals.
“I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to be around,” Mull said. “To come back and be where we're at right now is just great.”
Penn-Trafford is headed to its first finals berth in the school's 42-year history.
The first eight times the Warriors made the playoffs starting in 1974, they lost their opening-round games.
Fox Chapel will have a 10-day break before beginning the PIAA playoffs March 7.
If Penn-Trafford defeats Hempfield, the Foxes will play Erie McDowell to open the state tourney. Fox Chapel pulled off a huge upset against McDowell to open the 1998 playoffs.
If Penn-Trafford loses, Fox Chapel will play Hempfield in the first round.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
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.
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- Locke struggles again early, Pirates lose again in Milwaukee
- Western Pennsylvania schools’ denial of access to roofers prompts suit
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Picketer found to be at fault in accident at ATI plant
- American to halt 2 direct routes from Pittsburgh International
- Police: Woman faked Mt. Pleasant robbery
- McKeesport council approves mineral rights lease under Renzie Park
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- SUP3Rivers SouthSide festival floats idea of stand-up paddleboarding
- Contractor on New Stanton I-70 project wants access route