Apollo-Ridge girls focused on stretch run after last season’s collapse

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Thursday, January 25, 2018 | 12:11 AM


Last season’s stretch run was anything but ideal for the Apollo-Ridge girls basketball team.

The Vikings were right in the playoff mix through 12 games before closing out the campaign with 10 straight losses, including seven consecutive in section.

The current squad sits in a playoff spot at 4-4 in Section 3-3A — tied for third place — with four section games remaining. The coaches and players share a same sense of optimism that things will be different this time around and they have what it takes to finish off their goal of returning to the WPIAL postseason.

“We have to come ready to play every game and focus on one game at a time,” said junior Maddy Moore, who is averaging 13.5 points and a team-best 4.7 assists.

“If we come ready to play, we can beat anyone. We have to stay focused and positive that we can do it.”

Injury and other issues have taken starters off the court recently, but Callipare said he’s excited to see his team — still young with only one senior — return to full strength for the stretch run.

“Other young players got a chance to grow with more minutes,” he said.

“We’re still finding our identity. We’re playing a lot of people and are nine or 10 deep. We have three freshmen playing big roles in Madison Marks, Emily Bonelli and Morgan Gamble. Some of the girls still are working to develop their roles.”

Junior Liz Penrose (5.3 ppg.), Gamble (4.6) and sophomore Riley Eaton (4.1) also have shown the ability to score. Penrose tallied 11 in the win over Seton LaSalle, while Gamble scored nine.

Eaton had a season-best nine points in a holiday victory over Saltsburg from District 6.

Ost is closing in on a career milestone, as she has 904 points through Wednesday’s game with St. Joseph.

Moore is close to the school record for 3-pointers in a single season. She has 31 for the season. The record is 35 set by Alexis Orlowski in 2012.

“We have a tough schedule left,” Callipare said. “Can we make the playoffs? Yes. Will we do it? We’ll have to wait and see.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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