Greensburg Central Catholic gets past Winchester Thurston, nears Section 4-2A title
Monday, January 31, 2022 | 10:03 PM
No. 5 GCC tempered a stagnant first half with a much better second and took care of the Bears, 45-31, to move closer to a Section 4-2A girls basketball title.
Senior Bailey Kuhns and sophomore Mya Morgan, who have developed into one of Class 2A’s dynamic duos, each scored 17 points. They each had 18 when GCC beat Winchester Thurston earlier in the season.
Kuhns grabbed 12 rebounds this time and Morgan, who scored 10 in the third quarter, made three 3-pointers for GCC (13-3, 7-0), which outscored the Bears 19-6 in the third to gain separation.
The Centurions, who have won nine of their last 10 games, are three games ahead of Apollo-Ridge (12-3, 3-2) for the section lead.
A physical game against Franklin Regional Sunday at the Shootout at Seton Hill prepared GCC for what it faced against the Bears.
“We were getting used to their defense and we were communicating on offense better,” Morgan said. “Winning the section is a big goal for us because we couldn’t achieve that last year.”
No, it was Winchester Thurston (5-6, 2-2) that won the section a year ago, but the Bears struggled to do what they arguably do best: shoot 3-pointers.
They were 1 of 20 from behind the arc.
“Our girls know the value of games like this,” GCC coach Chris Skatell said. “I didn’t have to tell them. They had to adjust to the level of physicality we saw tonight, and they did.”
Kuhns seemed to be in position for every rebound, while Morgan found openings on the perimeter.
Kuhns had 13 of GCC’s 20 points in the first half, while Morgan keyed a 15-0 run in the third with eight straight points, including a layup off a touch pass from Kuhns, who made 7 of 10 free throws.
“I hate to say we got beat by two girls, but that’s what it was,” Winchester Thurston coach Monica Williams said. “We have a long road ahead when don’t shoot it well from 3. We have a much different team than we had last year.”
Sophomore Cara Dupilka’s basket with 20 seconds left in the third gave GCC its largest lead at 39-16.
Having the one-two option has made GCC a tough team to defend.
“Once Mya gets going, she’s tough to stop,” Skatell said. “When we couldn’t hit from the outside, we could go into the post to Bailey. We forced them to try and stop that.”
Defensively, GCC also had impressive spurts. Some man-to-man looks with a nice side of 2-3 zone — something Winchester Thurston had success using in two blowout wins over GCC last year — kept the Bears mostly quiet.
Senior Maddie Pisula man-guarded Winchester Thurston standout junior Nadia Moore. The 5-foot-10 guard had 14 points, 11 below her WPIAL-leading average of 25.3.
She had 28 when GCC beat the Bears earlier in the season, 58-45.
Duquesne coach Dan Burt was in attendance Monday to see Moore.
GCC took a 20-10 lead into halftime after two turnover-plagued quarters.
“We held them to 10 points in the first half,” Skatell said. “That’s a big deal.”
Freshman Sky Still had nine points for the Bears, who scored 19 points in the fourth after combing for 20 over the first three quarters, but could only cut it to 14 in the final frame.
Senior Emma Riley added seven points for GCC.
“Emma was all over the floor tonight getting loose balls,” Skatell said. “Maddie did a nice job on (Moore). Our seniors played well tonight.”
Senior Natalie Ward did not play for GCC.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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