Avonworth girls push past South Park into WPIAL semifinals

Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 7:29 PM

The Avonworth girls basketball team understood that if it wanted to return to the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals, the Antelopes would have to play to their strength — their size.

The No. 5 Antelopes (18-6) did exactly that as they jumped out to a 13-point lead at halftime and never looked back in a 52-38 win over No. 4 South Park (14-9) in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals Saturday at Mt. Lebanon.

Senior forward Kat Goetz led the Antelopes with 23 points, 15 coming in the first half. Junior guard Harris Robinson scored 19 points, including 10 in the third quarter.

“They’ve been our leaders all year long,” Avonworth coach Frank Halloran said. “We play through Kat. Not a lot of people have that weapon inside. They were a little small, but we weren’t sure how they were going to play that. When it was one-on-one, (Goetz) took advantage of it. She missed a couple, but for the most part carried us through the first half.

“I think I hold (Robinson) back with the way we play. I think the more up-tempo, she would really let loose. She has been really buying in and she picks her moments and she’s tough to stop.”

Goetz, who went 5 for 6 from the line, made her presence known early. She scored eight points as the Antelopes took a 10-4 lead after one quarter.

The Eagles stayed in striking distance in the second quarter as they trailed 19-13 after a Taylor Glowa 3-pointer. However, Avonworth went a 7-0 run to close out the first half.

“We put ourselves in a hole at the half,” South Park coach Garrett Del Re said. “It didn’t help that the shots weren’t falling when we got the looks we wanted. On the defensive end, we let them do whatever they wanted. They got all their points inside the paint.

“When you play a team like that who’s big and physical and does a good job at controlling the tempo, it’s hard to come back from a 13-point deficit.”

In the second half, Avonworth turned to Robinson to carry the team since the Eagles directed more attention to defending Goetz in the paint.

Robinson, who was 3 for 5 from the free-throw line, hit both of her free throws in the third. She capped the quarter with a bucket at the buzzer off a drive to give the Antelopes a 40-26 lead entering the fourth quarter.

South Park continued to battled and narrowed the deficit to 46-36 after a Kierra Moelber 3-pointer with 2:32 remaining.

Danielle DeProspo led South Park with nine points as the Eagles connected on six threes.

The Antelopes will face No. 1 Beaver in the semifinals Wednesday. The Antelopes split the season series with Beaver.

“It has been a long journey. We’re in the final four, and they’re all from our section,” Halloran said. “We’ll lace it up and give it a try. Hopefully, we’ll get down there to the Pete.”

South Park hopes for an Antelope win in order to qualify for the PIAA Class 3A playoffs.

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN

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