SHS girls knock off Lady Vikings
ALVERTON - When the Mount Pleasant and Southmoreland girls basketball teams face off, it's always a battle, and Thursday's Section 3-AAA finale was no exception. After a contest filled with physical play and lead changes, the Lady Scotties (4-10, 7-14) salvaged senior night with a 48-39 win over the visiting Lady Vikings (5-9, 9-14).
"That's the way it should be with two rivals playing the last game - both teams leaving everything out on the court, not holding anything back," Southmoreland coach Brian Pritts said.
"We knew we were going to have a hard time," Mount Pleasant assistant coach Tony Splendore said, referring to a tradition of hard-fought games.
Splendore said two missing elements made the difference in the match-up: starters and foul shots.
"We had two starters out since the last time we played them, and that's the difference in the game," Splendore said.
Ashley Cesario and Lisa Gorecki were on the injured list for the Lady Vikings, and Splendore said their absence was felt.
"They had 13 points between them the last time," he said.
Splendore said he was pleased with the performances of the remaining players.
"I'm proud of the way the kids stepped up and did a pretty good job," he said, and Pritts gave Mount Pleasant credit for a solid effort as well.
"They came out, and they wanted this game just as badly as we did," he said.
Both squads hit the court with intensity, as the Lady Vikings grabbed a 4-0 lead only to have Beth Wisniewski slice it to one with a 3-point bucket. The teams traded baskets before another three from Emily Morrison got the Lady Scotties a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It took Mount Pleasant just seconds to tie the score, but Morrison sank her second trey of the game to put Southmoreland back on top. Amanda Buttermore scored to give the Lady Scotties a 15-10 cushion, and despite the efforts of Mount Pleasant's Erica Sukay, who put in a two and a three in the quarter, Southmoreland held onto its five-point lead. Renee Frederick tossed in two buckets as the Lady Scotties went into the locker room with a 22-17 lead.
The Lady Vikings wiped out that advantage with a six-point run to start the third quarter.
"We came out real flat in the third quarter, and Mount Pleasant capitalized on it," Pritts said. "We got a little bit lazy, and they pounded the ball inside to (Ashley) Felker. She took control in the third quarter."
Felker canned six of her game-high 15 points in the quarter and was a force under the net, but Katy Matulay did her share for the Lady Vikings, too. Matulay netted five points, and Alesha Shumar added four as Mount Pleasant strung together seven straight points to gain a slim 34-33 lead heading into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Scotties' defense combined with good shooting by Wisniewski to put the game away. Only Matulay was able to tap in a basket as the Lady Vikings were limited to five last-quarter points.
Meanwhile, Southmoreland climbed out of the slight 37-35 hole Mount Pleasant had dug with a small run early in the period. Morrison's bucket evened the tally, and Wisniewski rattled off the Lady Scotties' next four shots.
Wisniewski finished with a team-high 13 points.
Pritts said Wisniewski's last-quarter streak, along with help from Buttermore and Morrison, was the key to the win.
"I think the key was Amanda playing strong defense almost the entire game in the middle and blocking, and Emily Morrison controlling the floor for us. And then Beth came off the bench with four fouls, and she hit three or four shots in a row that pulled us away a little bit and gave us a cushion."
When Wisniewski was finished, Southmoreland had taken a 45-38 lead, and the team didn't look back. Felker dropped in a free throw for the Lady Vikings, but Buttermore sank three foul shots to wrap up the win for the Lady Scotties.