Latrobe girls win another road game, using big second quarter to rout Penn-Trafford

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017 | 10:28 PM


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It was like a gentle breeze turned into a full-blown storm.

After a close first quarter, Latrobe's girls basketball team ignited — while Penn-Trafford struggled — and turned their Section 2-6A opener into a rout.

Senior guard Laura Graytok scored 17 points to lead seven Wildcats scorers in a 53-34 victory Wednesday night in Harrison City.

Latrobe moved to 4-0 (1-0) with another victory away from home. The Wildcats' first seven games are on the road. In this case, well, the road warriors went on the road to take down the Warriors (3-3, 0-1).

“They came out with a game plan to stop our fast break,” Latrobe coach Mark Burkhardt said. “They would press and then drop back into a 3-2 zone. We were playing too high offensively, so we made some adjustments.”

The plan worked, although a 9-5 deficit that swelled to 30-9 in the second quarter was equally self-inflicted. A 12-0 run sent the Wildcats on their way and made for a stark contrast to the teams' 2016 meetings, both won by Penn-Trafford by scores of 61-60 and 66-59.

Latrobe shared the ball well. Case and point: it took a 30-9 lead into halftime with Graytok scoring just five points.

“Our first eight all contributed,” Burkhardt said. “The consistency of what we are doing (in the program) is showing.”

Getting shots was not a problem for the Warriors, but making them became an issue as the game wore on and the odds grew longer.

“What dictated the tempo was our inability to make open shots,” Warriors coach John Giannikas said. “Our shooting has been very poor. It's becoming a bad trend. We're shooting mid-20s, low 30s (percent). We have been getting good looks. They're just not falling.”

Graytok, an American recruit, said the Wildcats seized control when the pace sped up.

“They tried to slow us down,” she said. “And they tried to take some scoring options away. We were able to play our pace in the second quarter.”

Penn-Trafford also has battled injuries in the early going. Senior guard Rachel Casper is out with a broken hand, and junior forward Stephanie O'Donnell is playing with a mask to protect her broken nose. O'Donnell will have surgery Thursday, Giannikas said.

“She played her heart out,” the coach added.

The Warriors clearly miss Casper's perimeter shooting.

Junior Bethany Havrilla and freshman Rachel Ridilla scored nine for Latrobe each, which outscored the Warriors, 21-4, in the second quarter.

Ridilla's points came on three 3-pointers.

“Give Latrobe credit,” Giannikas said. “They made their shots in the second quarter, and that stretched the lead.”

Senior Mackenzie Aunkst led Penn-Trafford with 12 points, 10 in the second half.

“She is a super athlete,” Burkhardt said. “We tried to keep her from giving us problems.”

An 8-1 spurt by the Warriors to open the third stretched the lead to 38-10.

Graytok scored 10 of Latrobe's 12 fourth-quarter points as the advantage grew to 53-26.

Junior Raeghan Panza made a pair of 3s late and finished with eight points for Penn-Trafford.

Latrobe won't play its first home game until Jan. 2 against Altoona. But it has nine home games in January.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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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