Defense sparks GCC, Bishop Guilfoyle
If there is one thing that Greensburg Central Catholic girls coach Ed Pultz can point to for his basketball team's success in the PIAA playoffs, it is the way the Centurions have played defense.
In their three state playoff victories, the Centurions (22-6) have allowed an average of 44 points per game. That performance has helped them reach the PIAA Western finals 6 p.m. today against Bishop Guilfoyle (24-6) at Memorial Fieldhouse on the IUP campus.
"We've really stepped it up on defense," Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ed Pultz said. "We've been the underdog in every game and the players relish that role."
The Centurions have played free and easy in their victories against the three district champions. They have knocked off District 6 winner Westmont Hilltop (73-55), District 9 champ Karns City (59-45) and District 10 champion Seneca (50-32).
And while the Centurions have been stingy on defense, Bishop Guilfoyle thrives on playing tough defense. It is allowing only 31 points per game in the state playoffs. Carlynton, the WPIAL champion, scored only 24 points in an overtime loss to Bishop Guilfoyle.
Bishop Guilfoyle is led by 5-foot-7 senior point guard Angela Greaser, who is averaging 15 points per game. Erin McGowan and Lindsay Conner, two 5-7 senior guards, each average 8.9 points per game.
Pultz said that Bishop Guilfoyle is known for its defense.
"It should be a tight game," Pultz said. "Both teams are playing well."
Bishop Guilfoyle, coached by Mark Moschella, has defeated three teams from the WPIAL -- Avonworth (52-36), South Side Beaver (49-33) and Carlynton (31-24 overtime) -- in the state playoffs.
Greensburg Central Catholic, which captured the WPIAL title last year, was knocked out by Bishop Guilfoyle 39-30 in the opening round of the 2003 playoffs.
Pultz said this year's team made it a point to prove they would continue Greensburg Central Catholic's tradition.
"If you're at Central, you'll always have a target on your back," Pultz said. "They've proven they are a pretty good team,"
Pultz said the team is playing with a new attitude and renewed confidence.
"They've having a lot of fun," Pultz said. "They said the two-week layoff between the WPIAL playoffs and the PIAA playoffs helped them."
Different players have stepped up to lead the Centurions and seniors Monica Mull, Theresa Chesterfield and Anne Keys have displayed senior leadership.
Mull said she was confident that the team would play well in the state playoffs. She said everyone has played their role.
The Centurions starters are Mull, Chesterfield, Keys, Ashley Henderson and Maggie Gibson. Shelby Baker, Lauren Donahoe and Danielle McRickard have contributed off the bench.
Gibson scored 14 points against Seneca, while Mull led the Centurions in scoring in the first two playoff games.