Share This Page

Despite 7-0 start in section play, South Park girls not satisfied

| Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, 6:42 p.m.

For some teams, a great regular season record can provide a boost to their confidence and help elevate expectations.

The South Park girls basketball team is not one of those teams.

Coach Juliet Highberger says her Eagles (12-2, 7-0) entered this season confident and experienced, already setting their sights on winning titles. Her team cannot afford to be satisfied with their sharp play and undefeated section record. Not yet, at least.

“I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm happy yet. We still have a lot of work to do. We still need to get a lot better to find success later on in order for us to make it a good season,” Highberger said.

“Being 12-2 and 7-0 in section, those are great things, and the girls have really worked hard to get there, but there are still things that we need to work on.”

One aspect of South Park's play that Highberger has been satisfied with so far has been the team's offense. Spearheaded by senior Allison McGrath, a second-team all-state selection and UMBC recruit, the Eagles are scoring an average of 60.4 points per game, good for the third best in Class AAA.

“She's been able to not only score, but she's also been able to find her teammates in transition and in the half-court offense. I think that her maturity and her game experience from the last three and a half years has really pushed her to a different level this season,” Highberger said.

“Her desire to win another WPIAL championship is what keeps driving her.”

McGrath averages 18.6 points. Along with Natalie Clydesdale, who averages more than 17 points, the two seniors have provided South Park with one of the more potent 1-2 scoring punches in all of WPIAL.

According to Highberger, though, the most crucial quality McGrath and Clydesdale both possess has more to do with attitude then skill set.

“If a team goes to a triangle-and-2 defense, Ally and Natalie are not concerned about scoring. They're concerned about winning,” she said.

“They have a bigger goal than ‘How many points am I going to score tonight?' They are willing to do whatever they have to do to get the W.”

Another senior, Jessica Jones, has earned a reputation as a do-it-all player. In her team's most recent victory over Belle Vernon, Jones recorded 10 steals and 10 rebounds.

Junior Alyssa Greer has emerged as another offensive threat for South Park, and is scoring almost 12 points per contest.

For the most part, the regular season has been a smooth ride for the Eagles. But, as Highberger said, nobody is going to hang a banner in the gym for a good regular season.

“I interview all of the players before the season, and all 13 girls said that their goal is to win a WPIAL championship. Some of them have one under their belt, and they want another one,” the South Park coach said.

“They know what it takes, and that it just doesn't happen every year. You have to earn it. I'm not necessarily satisfied with where we are now. We want to do more, and we want to make a good run at the WPIAL championship.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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.