Fabulous 15: PIAA qualifiers Serra, Elizabeth Forward well-represented
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It wasn't really a banner year for girls basketball in the area when considering the storied past of the sport in the Mon-Yough area.
There were no players with the abilities of some of the best the area has had to offer over the past two decades — Tanisha Wright, Jess Strom, Kam Gissendanner, Brooke Stewart, Laura Grimm and Swin Cash — but instead had more of a team-first attitude.
That proved to work for two of the most successful teams in the area in Elizabeth Forward and Serra.
EF made it to the WPIAL semifinals and state quarters with the entire starting lineup averaging between 10-12 points. Serra qualified for its second straight WPIAL Class A title game with its starting lineup scoring between nine and 12 points per game.
It's no coincidence that Serra and Elizabeth Forward dominated the Daily News Fabulous 15 for 2013-14.
Danielle Dindak • Serra
5-foot-8, Sr., G
The sharpshooting Dindak led a balanced Serra starting lineup with 12 points per game as the Eagles advanced to a second consecutive Class A championship game. Dindak did a large portion of her scoring from behind the arc as she connected on 60 3-pointers this year.
Olivia Barkley • Elizabeth Forward
5-foot-9, jr., f
Barkley, a three-year starter, averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds per game, but played her best in the playoffs. Barkley led the Warriors with 14 points in the state quarterfinal game against Palmyra.
Nassiah Bray • McKeesport
5-foot-4, JR., G
McKeesport didn't enjoy a particularly good season going 8-14, including losing its last three games, but Bray was surely a bright spot. The penetrating guard led the team with 11 points per game, which was nearly double her output as a sophomore.
Abby Dranko • South Allegheny
5-foot-10, JR., F
A two-time Fab 15 member, Dranko was a bright spot in a down year for the 4-16 Gladiators. Dranko led South Allegheny with 13 points per game after a season in which she averaged 10.7. Dranko scored 25 of South Allegheny's 44 points against Springdale. Dranko has 658 career points.
Natalie Fekula • Elizabeth Forward
6-foot, Sr., F
The versatile Fekula was talented enough to knock down a long-range jumper, but did most of her damage inside the paint. Fekula, a four-year starter, averaged 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game in helping EF to a 22-5 record including 64-15 slate over the past three.
Alayna Gribble • Norwin
6-foot, so., G
Norwin shared the Section 1-AAAA championship, advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. A lot of Norwin's success can be traced back to versatile Gribble, who averaged 17.2 points per game to lead the Knights in scoring for the second straight year.
Kylie Owoc • Eliz. Forward
Owoc had the role of long-range shooter for Elizabeth Forward and performed well. Owoc shot 38 percent from behind the arc this year and averaged 11.5 points per game. Owoc did more than just shoot. She played solid defense and was able to rebound well for a guard.
Alison Pastore • Eliz. Forward
5-foot-6, sr., G
Pastore was a straw the stirred the drink for the Warriors. The point guard averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game as a senior, but was the floor leader in helping EF to its second straight 20-win season. Pastore was a four-year letterman.
Katie Sieg • Serra
5-foot-7, Jr., G
Sieg had a solid junior season for the Eagles as she averaged nine points, five rebounds and 4 assists per game in helping Serra to a 24-4 record. Sieg is a three-year letterman. Sieg scored team-high 14 points in Serra's championship game loss against Vincentian.
Megan Sieg • Serra
5-foot-7, sr., G
A three-year starter, Sieg put a torn ACL behind her that cost the first half of her sophomore season to turn into the Eagles unquestioned leader. Sieg averaged 11.4 points, 4.1 assists and 2.1 rebounds for the season. In the state quarterfinals against Bishop Guilfoyle, Sieg scored 18 first-half points. She finished with 22.
Abigail Sporio • Elizabeth Forward
5-foot-7, jr., G
Sporio did a little bit of everything for the Warriors in leading EF to the Section 4-AAA title. She averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game but was the most disruptive on defense. Sporio averaged 6.5 steals per game and created havoc with her full-court pressure defense.
Ciara Patterson • West Mifflin
5-foot-7, sr., g
The Daily News Girls Player of the Year as a sophomore, Patterson rebounded her senior year by averaging 14.5 points, 8.8 assists and went over 1,000 points for her career. The versatile guard who can shoot and drive to the hoop, helped West Mifflin to the Class AAA semifinals. Patterson scored 19 points in a upset of eventual state champion Seton-La Salle.
Taylor Thomas • West Mifflin
6-foot, sr., F
Thomas had that unique ability of being able to play the half-court game and be able to push the ball up the court as well. Thomas was one of the main reasons why West Mifflin came within a quarter of advancing to the WPIAL championship game. Thomas led the team with 15.9 points and 10.8 rebounds.
Alexis Yanief • Thomas Jefferson
5-foot-8, Sr., G
The two-sport star scored 20 goals for the soccer team in the fall and led the Jaguars with 14.9 points per game in helping TJ to the playoffs. Yanief is a three-time Fabulous 15 member and went over 1,000 points for her career. She will play basketball at Millersville next year.
Nicole Pero • Serra
6-foot-1, Sr., C
Serra was dominant during the regular season going 20-2 and defeating teams by more than 30 points per game, and Pero had a lot to do with that. Pero proved to be one of the top inside players in Class A as she averaged 10.2 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Section 4-A champion Eagles.
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