Char Valley edges USC in WPIAL girls’ playoffs
By definition, playoff means one thing among combatants. One team wins. One team loses. Regardless of the effort, the winner advances and the loser sadly may end its season.
Such was the case when Chartiers Valley edged Upper St. Clair, 55-52, in a WPIAL Quad-A quarterfinal contest played at Canon-McMillan.
“They battled,” said USC floor boss Ernie Koontz.
After the loss he told his girls how much he cared about them. “I told them I loved them. They did a tremendous job. They’ve come a long way since we started back in December.”
While USC (12-11) must wait and see how the WPIAL finals play out to see if their season continues, the Lady Colts made sure they qualified for the PIAA tournament by winning. Five teams qualify from the WPIAL for the state playoffs at the Quad-A level.
CV clinched his spot in the semifinals, in part to a strong showing in the second half, particularly in the third quarter. That was when the Colts opened up one of its biggest leads, 45-33. CV and USC were tied, 11-11, after the first frame and 24-24 at intermission.
“There was no big half-time speech,” explained CV head coach Spencer Stefko. “It was just players making plays. It was a bunch of seniors not wanting to play their last game and a bunch of younger kids making sure that that didn’t happen.”
Sophomore Alexa Golden scored all 12 of her points in the second half. Senior Kassidy O’Keefe fired in eight of her 11 points in the third stanza while junior Jenna Devinney supplied a big 3-pointer in the third period that made the score 45-33 and a pair of free throws with 10.3 seconds to play that afforded CV a 54-49 lead.
Senior Mariah Wells led the Colts with 16 points, 14 of which occurred in the first half.
In addition to providing solid defense, Kristina Coyne pitched in with eight markers. Her free throw with .8 to play sewed up the victory.
Jordan Serio led all scorers. The USC point guard pumped in 20 points. Her 3-point play with under 50 seconds to play and her 3-point field goal with three seconds remaining pulled the Panthers within two points on each occasion.
Elayna Kaylor followed Serio with 18 points. She buried three shots from beyond the arc. Madison Serio accounted for two more treys by the Panthers, who finished with seven, 3-pointers. Back from a shoulder injury, Constance Raftis finished with six points.
CV, which improved to 18-6, will play top-seeded Mt. Lebanon (22-2) in the semifinals set for Tuesday, Feb. 26 at a site and time to be determined. It will be the third meeting between the two clubs. Lebo won both confrontations, 48-45, and 49-40.
Lebo defeated Fox Chapel, 45-42, in its quarterfinal match. Alex Ventrone (14), Christine Ehland (13) and Margie McCaffrey (11) all finished in double digits for the Blue Devils.
“We’ve been so focused on USC,” said Stefko. “So we want to enjoy this one. But obviously, they have beaten us twice and we’ve got to figure out how to beat them. They are a well-coached team that plays defense very well.”
So does Bethel Park and the Lady Hawks used that asset to beat Penn-Trafford, 43-34, and advance to the other Quad-A semifinal, a match-up against Gateway, which toppled the No. 3 seed, North Allegheny, 50-43, in its quarterfinal fray.
Megan Marecic fired in 22 points while Samantha Simpson followed with 10 tallies for the Lady Hawks, who are 21-3 overall.