A-K Valley girls basketball notebook: Freeport looks to repeat fast start

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | 6:17 PM

Last season, the Freeport girls basketball team went 1-1 at the season-opening Southmoreland tournament before winning six straight to head into the new year 7-1 en route to an 18-4 regular season and a runner-up finish in Section 1-4A.

Yellowjackets coach Fred Soilis hopes his team, which split a pair of games in a return to Southmoreland over the weekend, can repeat last year’s early success and head into January with a lot of momentum.

“We made a nice run in December last year, and there is no reason we can’t do it again,” Soilis said. “We start section play Thursday (home against Greensburg Salem). We know the games will be physical, but, hopefully, the girls are ready.”

Freeport breezed past Albert Gallatin, 58-40, in its opener behind 19 points from Harley Holloway and 11 from Sidney Shemanski.

The next night, Class 4A power Southmoreland posted a 63-23 win over a Yellowjackets squad playing without Shemanski and senior Madeline Clark because of injury.

“It was something we had to deal with,” Soilis said. “Southmoreland is a really good team and a challenge no matter what. We went into it like any other game with our best effort. They had a height advantage, and they got a number of second-chance rebounds. But I thought we still played some pretty good defense.”

Soilis said Shemanski and Clark will be game-time decisions for Thursday.

Points well taken

It’s no secret Kennedie Montue is a scoring threat for the Plum girls basketball team.

The 5-foot-11 junior forward led the Alle-Kiski Valley in scoring last year at 18.4 points per game as the Mustangs again qualified for the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.

Montue is at it again for Plum, which hopes to build on a 2-1 start to the season.

In the opener, a 66-48 loss to Mohawk at the Moon tournament, she tallied a game-best 21 points. The next night, Plum got into the win column, and Montue led three Mustangs players in scoring with 16.

On Tuesday, the Division I prospect delivered the highest single-game scoring output in the A-K Valley this season with 29 points in a 60-40 victory over Steel Valley.

That gives her a 22-point scoring average.

Montue has gained additional attention from college coaches since her first D-I offer from Marshall last May.

Wins for faces in new places

First-year Fox Chapel coach Marty Matvey won 46 games over the past three seasons at South Park, and he is on his way to what he hopes is similar — if not greater — success with the Foxes.

A veteran group, with four returning starters from last season’s WPIAL playoff qualifier, put him in the win column Saturday, 50-48 over Carlynton at the Carlynton Tournament.

Ellie Schwartzman and Domenica Delaney led the way with 14 points apiece.

The Foxes (2-1) added a second win Tuesday, 70-57 over Woodland Hills, behind 14 from Schwartzman and Gabby Guerrierri.

Mike Monstrola won his WPIAL head-coaching debut at Apollo-Ridge as the Vikings (2-1) topped Valley, 62-32, on Friday at the Springdale tournament.

Morgan Gamble (26 points) and Rylee Eaton (22) led the way for Apollo-Ridge in the victory.

Gamble has collected 59 points over three games, an average of 19.6.

Cheswick Christian is 3-0 under first-year coach Jacque Willis. The Chargers remained undefeated with Monday’s 52-17 win over Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf behind 15 points from Nina Rasulova and 12 from Daisy Hamilton.

Let the section games begin

The 2019-20 high school girls basketball season is less than a week old, and section play has quickly arrived.

Dozens of section contests throughout the WPIAL on Thursday will begin the journey to the playoffs.

Fox Chapel (Section 1-6A) will host Butler, and Kiski Area (Section 2-5A) will travel to Mars.

Section 1-4A again is loaded locally with five Alle-Kiski Valley teams, and those squads will be featured in three conference clashes: Apollo-Ridge at Burrell, Greensburg Salem at Freeport and Highlands at Knoch.

Other section matchups involving A-K Valley teams are South Allegheny at Deer Lakes in Section 3-3A and Brentwood at Springdale and Riverview at Ellis School in Section 2-2A.

Plum visits Allderdice, and Leechburg travels to Valley on Thursday in nonsection play. Valley begins its Section 3-3A slate Friday at Shady Side Academy, and Plum opens its Section 2-5A schedule Monday at home against Franklin Regional.

Leechburg opens Section 3-1A action Dec. 19 hosting Aquinas Academy.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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