Central Valley kills SF ladies playoff hopes; not spirit & spunk
South Fayette demonstrated a no-quit attitude in its 59-50 loss to Central Valley in a first-round WPIAL Class AAA girls’ basketball playoff game that will serve the Lady Lions long into the future.
See, though the Lady Lions ended their season with a 14-8 slate, they return nine players, six freshmen, two sophomores and one junior from their roster. They graduate six seniors, starters Shannon Gillespie, Caitlin McLuckie and Kristen Hardt, as well as Danielle Kirker, Mikenna Miller and Rachel Closky.
In falling to the Warriors, the Lady Lions demonstrated grit and determination as they attempted to reverse a 44-34 decision earlier this season during the C.J. Betters Tournament. Each time Central Valley threatened to run away with the contest, South Fayette calmly climbed back into the game.
After edging ahead, 12-10, after one frame, the Lions fell behind, 24-16. During the Warriors’ 12-2 run, Madalena Rowan flexed her muscle. She scored eight points in the spree.
After closing the gap to 26-20 by intermission, South Fayette exploded into the lead, 33-32, with 3:26 to play in the third quarter. The Lions took advantage of Kianna Law’s exit from the contest. The 6-1 junior center picked up her fifth foul on a technical with 4:42 to go in the frame.
Sophomore Lauren Crites connected on one of the free throws and Hardt buried a 3-pointer to give SF a 31-30 edge with 4:04 remaining in the frame. After a hoop by Rowan, Crites came back with another bucket, affording SF its last lead of the game.
The Warriors, indeed, went on the warpath, reeling off eight straight, five by Rowan. By the end of CV’s 17-2 run, Rowan had registered her 27th point on her way to 35, Kayla Schwartz had knocked down a pair of 3-pointers for her six in the game and Seairra Barrett was on 12 points into her 14 tallies for the contest.
SF used three long-range shots to narrow the 14-point gap, 49-35, but drew no closer than nine as Central Valley clinched the victory at the line. The Warriors scored eight free throws down the stretch.
In the game, Hardt finished with 13 points. Gillespie and Mindy Wells followed with nine each. Crites supplied seven markers while McLuckie and freshman Autumn Mozick finished with five and four points respectively.
In addition to starters Crites and Wells, SF head coach Matt Bacco welcomes back Mikayla Fetchet to next year’s club. The freshman saw plenty of action against Central Valley.
In addition to Mozick and Fetchet, Emily Anderson, Jessica Antoszewski, Marissa France and Emily Bryan are ninth graders on the roster. Chelsae Hughes is the lone junior.