Kuhns, Morgan lead Greensburg Central Catholic past Chartiers-Houston

Monday, February 21, 2022 | 10:00 PM

The more patient Greensburg Central Catholic became with Chartiers-Houston’s 2-1-2 press, the wider the margin got in the teams’ playoff opener.

Fourth-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic found ways around the defense and threaded the ball to Bailey Kuhns and Mya Morgan for backdoor layups and turnaround jumpers.

Then, it turned up its own defensive effort.

It all added up to a 51-27 rout of No. 13 Chartiers-Houston in a WPIAL Class 2A girls basketball first-round game Monday night at GCC.

GCC (18-4) will play at home again in the quarterfinals. The Centurions, who have won eight of nine, will host No. 5 Seton La Salle (16-6) at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Kuhns, a senior guard-forward, feasted on high-percentage shots around the rim, scoring a game-high 23 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

Morgan, a sophomore making her first playoff start, added 17 points.

“Bailey was hard to stop. This was something new for Mya,” GCC coach Chris Skatell said. “Mya did a nice job against the pressure. We didn’t see that much this year.”

Kuhns, who made 11 of 14 shots, combined with Morgan to score 16 in the fourth as GCC finally peeled away.

“I was not expecting the triangle,” Kuhns said. “We thought they would do that on Mya. You just have to give yourself a pep talk. As long as I am going to the hoop, good things happen. If I am going strong to the hoop, it’s over.”

A Mercyhurst commit, Kuhns had 14 in the second half, and Morgan tallied 13.

“We came out of halftime and there were buckets all over the floor,” Kuhns said. “The first (playoff) game is always the toughest. We kept our heads. Everyone played a part, and we got it done.”

Chartiers-Houston (11-11), which came out in a triangle-and-2 on Kuhns, did not make a 3-pointer and relied on free throws for nearly half of its points. The Buccaneers made just 13 of 25 from the foul line.

The Bucs, who had 23 turnovers, only had seven field goals, six of them by senior Dominique Mortimer, who finished with 16 points.

“We knew (Chartiers-Houston) wasn’t going to come in and roll over,” said Skatell, who earned his first playoff win leading GCC. “They did a nice job and played hard on defense. We handled their pressure well, and our bench did a nice job. We played really good defense. We’re starting to look like a veteran team.”

GCC pitched a shutout in the first quarter, outscoring the Bucs 10-0. The Centurions took a 16-9 advantage into halftime.

Senior Meghan Zambruno helped GCC build its double-digit lead with a 3-pointer that followed the Bucs’ first field goal, at 6 minutes, 16 seconds of the second quarter.

Chartiers-Houston went on an 11-0 run to cut it to 16-13 early in the third, but Kuhns and Morgan led a 15-2 surge that stretched the lead to 31-15 heading to the fourth.

Sophomore Cara Dupilka made a a layup late in the third.

In the fourth, the Bucs could only cut it to 14.

GCC is surely a fan of home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

“I don’t know it we’ve ever hosted a playoff game here,” Skatell said. “I have been here 13 years, and I know it hasn’t happened then. We had a nice crowd. The energy here tonight was fantastic.”

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

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