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Cougars eye historic wins

| Friday, Feb. 13, 2009

HERMINIE -- Charleroi High's two basketball teams would like nothing better than making some history tonight.

The Cougars and Lady Cougars have never posted playoff wins on the same night and same floor.

Tonight they have the opportunity in a WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round doubleheader at Yough.

The Lady Cougars (14-8) face East Allegheny (15-6) at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Cougars (14-7) against Shady Side Academy (13-9) at 8 p.m.

The Lady Cougars are making their second trip to Herminie in 10 days since they beat Yough, 53-49, in an exhibition contest,

Charleroi coach Nick Mahalko, however, missed the contest because of illness, as did one of his players, 5-3 sophomore Chaniece Tarpley.

If the Lady Cougars hope to upset the Lady Wildcats, they're going to have to contain one of the WPIAL's top scorers in 5-10 junior Leah Hurst.

Hurst is averaging 21 points and had back-to-back 24-point performances against South Allegheny and Clairton in the last two outings.

"We know we're going to have to keep the ball out of Hurst's hands," said Mahalko.

East Allegheny's biggest player is 6-0 senior Kara Dorsey.

The Lady Wildcats finished fourth in Section 4 behind Shady Side Academy, Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette.

Charleroi is led by four-year starter 5-7 senior Aly Lee, who's averaging 13 points and has 1,039 career points.

Morgan Iacovino, a 5-10 sophomore, is the only other Lady Cougar averaging in double figures at 12.

Rounding out Charleroi's starting cast are 5-3 senior Brittany Collins, 5-10 senior Hayley Shannon and 5-7 junior Tessa Thorne, who's questionable with a high ankle sprain.

East Allegheny owns a 60-36 win at home over Brownsville, which split with Charleroi. The Lady Cougars edged the Lady Falcons, 66-64, after losing 61-58 at Brownsville in mid-December.

Meanwhile, Charleroi coach Bill Wiltz is optimistic against the Indians.

"The guards match up well, but we should have the height advantage," said Wiltz. "The key will be inside. We'll have to rebound and play for 32 minutes."

The Indians tied for second in Section 4 with Greensburg Central Catholic at 9-3, three games behind top-seeded Jeannette.

Shady Side, however, gave Jeannette one of its toughest games on the Jayhawks' floor in a 57-52 defeat in their section opener.

The Indians are led by 6-4 sophomore John Bray, 6-3 junior Jerome Barnes and 6-1 junior Parker Neiman.

Matt Goldstein, a 6-5 senior, is Shady Side's tallest starter.

Charleroi is led by 6-7 senior Eli Obade, who averaged 16 points but sat sat out the season-ending 65-20 loss.

The other Charleroi starters are 5-10 senior Taylor Andrisko, 6-0 senior Brad Price, 5-10 junior Eric Anderson and 6-6 sophomore Zach Hooks.

With a 44-point average, Charleroi was the lowest scoring team in the Class AA playoff field.

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