Seton-La Salle again ends GCC's season in PIAA tournament
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Cassidy Walsh could sense it was coming.
So, too, could Greensburg Central Catholic girls basketball coach Joe Eisaman.
Even though Seton-La Salle held an 11-point lead at halftime during Tuesday's PIAA Class AA second-round game at Chartiers Valley, Eisaman figured Walsh and her Rebels teammates might make a push.
“They have a switch they throw on and off,” Eisaman said. “I can guarantee that wasn't a pleasant talk they had at halftime.”
A 12-0 run early in the third quarter cemented a 61-43 win for the Rebels (24-4) and made sure the postgame chat was much more enjoyable.
Seton-La Salle overwhelmed Greensburg Central Catholic (20-6) during the decisive push, forcing repeated turnovers off the fingertips of Naje Gibson and Yacine Diop.
“Every new half it's a new beginning,” Walsh said. “That was kind of our mindset. It was time to forget about whatever happened in the first half.”
Seton-La Salle advanced to the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals and will play Bishop Canevin Friday, site and time to be determined.
The Crusaders upset Seton-La Salle in the WPIAL final and again in the state semifinals last season. This will be the teams' fourth meeting this season, and Gibson can't wait.
“I think it's personal,” Gibson said.
This marks the second consecutive season the Rebels have ended Greensburg Central Catholic's season; they also won meetings in the WPIAL quarterfinals and second round of states in 2012-13.
Walsh finished with a team-high 16 points and made four 3-pointers. Gibson had 12 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Diop added 10 points and five steals.
The game's highlight-reel play came from Shaunay Edmonds, who scored just two points but fed Nicolete Newman with a behind-the-back bounce pass for a 35-17 lead at 5 minutes, 14 seconds of the third.
“We knew that was coming,” Eisaman said of the 12-0 run. “You don't have to be a genius to figure that out.”
Carolyn Appleby led the Centurions with 23 points. Leah Bisignani added nine and eight rebounds, but the Centurions committed 23 turnovers and never found a way to maneuver around Diop and Gibson.
“We're blessed with some depth,” Seton-La Salle coach Spencer Stefko said. “We can be really annoying when we're defending the right way.”
Two Walsh 3-pointers and a Morgan Henderson jumper from the left wing gave Seton-La Salle an 8-4 advantage early.
Gibson, who did not start for the second straight game but entered 70 seconds in, hit a 12-footer from the baseline to give the Rebels a 12-6 lead.
Henderson made it 14-6 after one with her layup.
The Centurions cut it to 16-11 following a layup from Appleby, but Gibson's putback and a pair of Walsh 3s kept things comfortable for Seton, which had a 26-15 lead at halftime.
Seton-La Salle's decisive run opened with a 3-pointer from Newman, who had seven points during the spurt.
Walsh and Gibson added layups, and Morgan Henderson (nine points) made a free throw.
At the end, Seton-La Salle led 40-17 and Greensburg Central Catholic never recovered.
“That's become a little bit of a calling card for us,” Stefko said. “Try to grind people down for the first and second quarters, and it seems like in the third quarter sometimes there's a cumulative effect.”
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