Lady Hounds brace for battle with state champs
INDIANA, Pa. - Just when the Monessen girls seem to have their house back in order, following a team-oriented win on Wednesday, here come the big, bad Lady Huskies of Bishop Carroll to try and blow the house down.
Along with the high-octane offense and smothering defense of Bishop Carroll (28-2), the Lady Greyhounds (25-4) must also overcome their opponent's awe-inspiring reputation. The two clash in a PIAA playoff quarterfinal at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Field House on the IUP campus.
It will be a rematch at the very site last season where the Lady Huskies eliminated Monessen in the PIAA semifinals. That was a 62-34 decision that saw Bishop Carroll begin the game with a 29-2 run. The Lady Huskies then went on to capture the state championship.
"They knocked us out last year and they're good, but we're a little bit better than we were last year," Monessen coach Major Corley said. "We just have to take our time and see what happens."
Senior Sarah Bradley - who scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds that game - returns as the Lady Huskies' leading scorer. The 6-foot-1 center averages around 15 points and eight boards per game.
"Bradley is the best center I've seen in a long time," said Corley. "She killed us last year."
Sarah Bock, a 5-6 junior, will have the tough job of trying to contain Bradley.
Although Bradley lives in the post, Bishop Carroll's long-range shooters spearhead its attack. Junior guard Anne Popovich (8.1 ppg) has drained over 60 treys while forward Leah Shrift (10.1) and Ali Meckey (7.3) have combined for nearly 80 more 3-pointers.
The No. 1 team out of District 6, Bishop Carroll is coming off a 71-39 dusting of Cameron County. Four players scored in double figures for Bishop Carroll, led by Bradley's 18 points and Meckey's 14. Cameron County scored only 10 points in the second half.
The Lady Huskies beat Clairton - Monessen's rival and Section-3 co-champion - in the first round, 76-58. Shrift scored a game-high 23 points in that victory.
Bishop Carroll breezed through the District 6 playoffs, routing Harmony (78-30), Conemaugh Valley (75-42) and Juniata Valley (49-23).
"They're the best team we'll see this year," said Corley.
Monessen is coming off a team-oriented, 56-53 win over Kennedy Catholic. Charel Allen led the way with 28 points, nine rebounds and six steals, but 5-11 freshman Perriel Pearson exploded for a season-high 16 points.
Corley hopes, this time around, the big bad Lady Huskies will find Monessen's house to be made of brick.
Sports Editor Brian Herman contributed to this story