Deer Lakes rolls to section win over East Allegheny

Monday, January 6, 2020 | 11:23 PM

The Deer Lakes girls basketball team plays three Section 3-3A games this week, and the Lancers got off to a good start Monday with a 62-41 victory over East Allegheny.

“I told the girls that it’s one game at a time at this point,” said Lancers coach Dave Petruska, who saw his team, behind four players scoring in double figures, improve to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the section.

“We have goals that we have set, and we worked towards setting them throughout our Christmastime. We discussed what their outlook was. I said to them that we are on that right track. With every day and every game, we’re meeting those goals. We just have to come into every game from this point out with energy, excitement and confidence.”

Deer Lakes sits in second place in the section after Monday’s win, one-half game behind Derry (7-4, 4-1) and one-half game ahead of Shady Side Academy (6-6, 3-2), South Allegheny (5-5, 3-2) and Carlynton (4-7, 3-2).

Derry remained at the top with Monday’s 67-37 triumph over Steel Valley (3-6, 1-3). The Lancers visit the Ironmen on Tuesday before a road game with the Trojans on Thursday.

Shady Side Academy edged Carlynton in overtime Monday.

Despite the loss, East Allegheny, which played Monday’s game without senior starters Amaia Johnson (5-foot-9, guard) and Keiyah Marshall (5-10, forward/center), remains in the playoff hunt at 2-3 in the section and 4-7 overall.

Johnson, an all-section player, is averaging 13 points a game.

“We had to make some adjustments, and we did the best we could,” East Allegheny coach Mike Osiecki said. “It was tough, but the girls battled. We’ll keep our heads up for another day.”

The difference in the game was the first quarter as Deer Lakes outscored East Allegheny, 22-6. The Lancers, who came in giving up a section-low 37.3 points a game, forced the Wildcats to turn the ball over on their first three possessions.

Deer Lakes turned the East A miscues into a 6-0 advantage on a layup and two free throws from Cameron Simurda and a jumper from Nikki Fleming.

Reese Hasley scored eight of her game-best 19 in the first quarter, while Fleming and Simurda each finished with seven points over the first eight minutes.

Fleming ended the game with 17 points, while Simurda tallied 11.

Makayla Blair, who battled through first-half foul trouble, scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half.

Deer Lakes led 34-18 at halftime, and Blair canned a 3-pointer 20 seconds into the third quarter to extend the Lancers’ lead to 19.

East Allegheny, which got a team-best 14 points from Casmere Marshall and 13 more from Riley Varner, used a quick 5-0 run to cut its deficit to 14 at 37-23. But Deer Lakes didn’t let its lead shrink below that margin the rest of the way.

“I know that East Allegheny is a team that isn’t made up of just one or two players,” Petruska said. “They have multiple pieces that are able to step up on any given night. It was a different game without the players they were missing. They battled, and we are definitely more aware of them for the next time around in terms of what we need to work on and how we need to make adjustments.”

The teams meet at East Allegheny on Jan. 30.

East Allegheny’s Abby Henderson, a 6-1 junior forward, just missed a double-double as she finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

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

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