Fast start again fuels Hempfield girls to victory
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The starts of games haven't been the problem for Hempfield in the playoffs.
Fueled by a 18-0 run to start the game, the WPIAL runner-up defeated City League champion Obama Academy, 54-33, in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs Friday at Allderdice.
Hempfield will play Fox Chapel in the second round Tuesday, at a time and location to be determined.
Senior guard Monica Burns scored a game-high 21 points to help the Spartans (18-9) bounce back from their 56-45 loss to Penn-Trafford in the WPIAL championship a week ago.
“This game, we knew we had to get past the first round because of losing the WPIAL championship,” Burns said. “People underestimated us and acted like we were on a losing streak or something when it was just one game.”
The Spartans let a 15-point second-half lead slip away in the loss to Penn-Trafford, and they were in danger of letting the same happen against Obama.
After falling behind 18-0 in a hurry, Obama went on a 17-4 run to trail 22-17 in the second quarter.
That was the closest they got.
“We did fight back. I was proud of that,” Obama coach Monique McCoy said. “Today, we just encouraged the girls to give it their all. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain from this game.”
Hempfield scored six straight points to enter halftime with a 32-20 lead. The Spartans extended that scoring streak to a 17-0 run, capped by a pair of Burns free throws at the start of the third quarter to build a 43-20 lead.
“I was worried a little bit after the WPIAL finals with the way we lost that we would have a let down,' Hempfield coach Aaron Epps said. “But I know the character of our kids, and we came out today pretty much the way we've done all playoffs, which is coming out to a hard start.”
A man-to-man full-court press was the key to the start of the game.
Hempfield forced multiple turnovers on its way to the 18-0 lead. Although the defense was out of the ordinary for Hempfield, they played it to perfection.
“It was our game plan for this game,” Epps said. “Basically all playoffs, we've just been playing regular man defense, but we saw some things with them that showed us we wanted to trap and get all over them.”
Seven players scored Friday for the Spartans, and junior forward Leah Knizner was the only other scorer to finish in double figures with 10 points.
Epps can always tell when his team is going to have a good night offensively based on they way the players are sharing the ball, he said.
Michaela Porter and Rakeyla Little scored eight points each to lead Obama Academy (14-7).
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.