Lebo beats Gateway, 63-46
Dori Oldaker said that she couldn’t remember the inspiring speech she delivered to her Mt. Lebanon players during halftime of their WPIAL Quad-A playoff game against Gateway. Perhaps she preached patience and rebounding.
For persistence and pounding the boards proved the difference as the Blue Devils defeated the Gators, 63-46, at Baldwin. They only lead, 24-23, at intermission.
“We had to do a better job,” Oldaker said of rebounding. “Gateway’s a great team and it was one and done for us in the first half and that hurt us.
“We wanted to get it inside, and they were doing a great job keeping us from getting it inside,” continued the Blue Devils’ floor boss. “We had to keep our heads, continue to play the game as hard as we could and hope good things were going to happen.”
From their first possession in the third quarter good things, indeed, happened for the Lebo ladies. They used a 9-2 run to start the frame, thanks to two putbacks by Christine Ehland as well as free throws and a three-pointer by Laura Wallace.
In the eight minutes, the Blue Devils racked up 19 points, including nine off three shots from beyond the arc. Wallace knocked down a pair of treys while Anna Miller buried one at the buzzer to lift Lebo to a 43-35 advantage.
The Blue Devils reeled off the first nine tallies in the final frame. As they stretched their advantage to 53-39, the Lebo ladies also assured themselves a spot in the quarterfinals.
Mt. Lebanon will face Penn-Trafford in a quarterfinal contest set for Friday, Feb. 21 at a site and time to be determined. The Warriors upended Plum, 46-43, in their playoff opener. The Warriors are 17-6 overall. They tied Norwin for the Section 1 title. Both finished 13-1 in the division.
“Every game is hard (in this tournament),” said Oldaker. “But, it’s what we’ve worked for all season long.
“Nine times out of time, it comes down to who comes to play,” she added.
Ehland certainly came to play. She exploded for 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, most in the second half. She also blocked three shots.
Madeliene Collins and Wallace followed with 11 tallies apiece. A 6-foot-1 senior, Collins also managed to pull down eight rebounds. She, too, blocked three shots.
Jada Epps and London Wade scored in double digits for the Gators, who finished the season at 13-9 overall. Epps led with 14 markers while Wade pitched in with 10 tallies before fouling out of the contest with 5:01 to play.