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Penn-Trafford's Palarino named to all-state team

| Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Hempfield's Leah Knizner looks to shoot as Penn-Trafford's Maria Palarino attempts to block a shot on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at Penn-Trafford High School. Penn-Trafford won at the buzzer, 63-62.

Maria Palarino helped the Penn-Trafford girls basketball team win the first WPIAL title in program history this season. For her part in doing so, Palarino last week became the first Penn-Trafford player to be recognized as one of the top basketball players in the state.

Palarino, a junior guard/forward, was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers' Class AAAA all-state second team last week. Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias, a first-team selection and the Pennsylvania Sports Writers' girls basketball player of the year, was the only other WPIAL player to be named all-state in Class AAAA.

“It was a pretty good feeling,” Palarino said. “It's definitely something that I wanted to achieve this season, and I'm really happy that I did.”

Palarino led the Warriors in scoring, rebounding and steals this season, averaging 17.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. She scored in double figures in 25 of Penn-Trafford's 27 games and topped 20 points 13 times during the season.

But Palarino saved much of her best work for the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. She scored a game-high 28 points to lead Penn-Trafford to a 44-43 overtime victory over Fox Chapel in the semifinals and then added another 21 points in the Warriors' 56-45 win over Hempfield in the championship game.“It's well-deserved, without a doubt,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said of Palarino's recognition. “The kid had a tremendous year and led us to another section championship and, more importantly, our first WPIAL championship. I'm not surprised. It's well-deserved and definitely what we expected. It's just the right thing to do. She deserves to be up there, and she earned it.”

In addition to the all-state honor, Palarino was named to the Tribune-Review's Greensburg “Terrific 10” over the weekend along with fellow junior Casey Aunkst. Aunkst averaged 9.9 points and 4.9 assists per game for Penn-Trafford this season.

Aunkst, Palarino and junior Katy Abreu were named to the all-Section-1-AAAA team earlier this offseason.

“All the recognition that I'm getting, I couldn't have gotten without my team this year,” Palarino said. “They helped me accomplish everything that I did. Our season overall was just awesome.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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