Westmoreland County girls basketball notebook: Freeport at full strength for rematch with Southmoreland

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 6:04 PM

Coach Fred Soilis hopes playing at full strength will give his Freeport team a much better chance against unbeaten Southmoreland — and maybe even produce a different result.

Soilis, who will lead 10th-seeded Freeport (17-6) against No. 2 Southmoreland (22-0) on Thursday night at Penn-Trafford in the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals, will have senior starters Sidney Shemanski and Madeline Clark in the lineup this time.

That wasn’t the case at the Southmoreland tip-off tournament when the Scotties throttled Freeport, 63-23. Shemanski and Clark did not play in that game due to injury.

Shemanski averages 12.6 points and 8.2 rebounds, and Clark scores about 7 points a game. They combined for 25 points (Clark had 13) in a 44-38 win over Belle Vernon in the first round Monday.

“We have to rebound better, make better passes, play better defense and shoot better,” Soilis said about Thursday’s rematch. “(Southmoreland) is well-coached and they have talented players. They have size as well and depth on the bench.”

Freeport has not been to the WPIAL semifinals since 2004 when now-Armstrong coach Kirk Lorigan led the Yellowjackets.

Southmoreland never has made it past the quarterfinals.

Hard-luck losses

Three area teams looked like they might be headed to first-round playoff wins but had leads snatched out from under them in the waning seconds.

Penn-Trafford had a 13-point lead over Gateway early in the fourth quarter but the Gators rallied for 21 points in the final frame — and shot 58% from the field — to stun the Warriors, 37-36.

Greensburg Central Catholic had a one-point lead with 20 seconds left but gave up a late layup and turned the ball over in the closing seconds in a 36-35 loss to California.

Monessen and Belle Vernon also suffered defeats by single-digit point spreads. Despite looking like it was in control early, a trend for area teams this postseason, Monessen fell to Aquinas Academy, 34-30.

Belle Vernon used steals to rally late against Freeport but fell, 44-38.

All-section honors

The Big 5/6 Conference website, which recognizes the accomplishments of the WPIAL’s two largest classifications, announced its all-section teams for this season.

Local girls selected to the Section 1 first team included senior guards Olivia Gribble and Jayla Wehner of Norwin, and Hempfield senior Sarah Liberatore made the Section 2 first team.

Two games at P-T

Penn-Trafford will host a quarterfinal doubleheader Thursday night with Class 2A No. 1 seed Serra Catholic (16-3) taking on No. 9 Winchester Thurston (15-8) at 6:30 p.m., followed by Southmoreland (22-0) and Freeport (17-6) at 8 p.m.

Local tie

Meghan Mastroianni, the second-year coach at Moon, picked up her first playoff win as a coach when the Tigers defeated Mars, 52-26.

Mastroianni, the daughter of longtime Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni, played her college basketball at Seton Hill.

She was an assistant who took over the head-coaching reins when Jody Powell was fired over an undisclosed in-house matter last month.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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