Share This Page

Burrell girls eye improvement even after easy win in PIAA opener

| Friday, March 7, 2014, 10:09 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Natalie Myers drives to the hoop against Clarion-Limestone's Josie Stitt during their PIAA Class AA first-round playoff game Friday, March 7, 2014, at North Hills.

This slow-start thing is eating away at Burrell's girls basketball team.

After a 28-point win over Clarion-Limestone in the first round of the state playoffs, players and coaches were muttering under their breath, more frustrated than celebratory, the urge to critique and improve clearly on their minds.

“We missed some wide-open layups and came out flat,” Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski said. “That first half was like watching paint dry.”

Still, after strong-arming Clarion-Limestone, 55-27, in a PIAA Class AA first-round game Friday night at North Hills, the WPIAL runner-up Bucs (26-1) are moving on to the second round for the second consecutive season.

Their next opponent will be District 6 champion Bellwood-Antis (24-3), which held off McGuffey, 56-55, to advance.

Burrell beat Bellwood-Antis, 65-46, in the first round last season.

Burrell has set a standard and doesn't feel quite comfortable with anything less — although Friday's win was a far cry from the 55-34 loss to Seton-La Salle in the WPIAL championship game.

“It was like we weren't ourselves,” Ziemianski said.

Four players scored in double figures, led by junior point guard Sydney Bordonaro, who hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points. Sophomore forward Natalie Myers added 15 points and 13 rebounds, senior center Jessica Cercone scored 12 and senior guard Kelsey Oddis had 10.

Cercone's stat line also included seven rebounds and four steals.

Burrell had to stay patient, particularly early, because it was unable to dictate a faster tempo.

“(Clarion-Limestone) came out in a zone and really tried to slow us down,” Ziemianski said. “We're not used to that. We want to get out and go.”

Burrell took a 21-12 lead into halftime but gradually stretched the advantage in the third. A 12-1 run to close the quarter had the Bucs ahead 38-16.

Bordonaro scored 16 in the second half.

“We weren't very good early,” she said. “We took a while to get going.”

Myers had the game's highlight when she fired in a halfcourt shot to beat the third-quarter buzzer.

“When it left her hand, I knew it was going in,” Bordonaro said. “We heard a guy in the stands say, ‘dun, dun, dun; dun, dun dun (like the SportsCenter theme).' ”

The run extended into the fourth as the Bucs began the period with a 17-1 surge, which included three Bordaro 3s.

Cercone made some in-close baskets, and Oddis hit several mid-range jumpers to help the Bucs pull away.

“We missed some layups early in the first half. That has kind of been the story of our season,” said Clarion-Limestone coach Doug Rodgers, a former Deer Lakes coach. “You have to wonder, what if those go down?”

Rodgers wasn't nearly as nit-picky with Burrell.

“We had some backcourt lapses, and they got some easy passes,” he said. “You can't do that against a team like Burrell. You can only double-team a team like that for so long.”

Burrell senior guard Jaila Manga did not start but checked in midway through the first quarter.

Manga received medical clearance Thursday to play in the state opener after suffering a laceration on top of her head in the WPIAL championship last Friday at Palumbo Center.

She was jabbed by an elbow and had to get three staples, which since have been removed.

“We're happy with the win,” Manga said. “We just have to come out better.”

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

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.