Mohawk girls top Carlynton to reach WPIAL Class 3A finals for 1st time

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | 8:52 PM

Mohawk entered Wednesday night’s WPIAL Class 3A semifinal with one of the area’s best offenses.

The Warriors showed they can play some high-level defense too in a 64-58 win over Carlynton at West Allegheny. Mohawk advances to the program’s first WPIAL title game at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Petersen Events Center

“It’s unbelievable,” Mohawk’s Paige Julian said.

The Warriors (21-3) stifled the Cougars (15-9) in the first two quarters. Mohawk held its opponent without a field goal for a majority of the first half. Carlynton’s Haley Williams tied the score with a bucket 2:05 into the game. The Cougars didn’t connect from the field until Jada Lee swished a trey with 4:29 left in the second.

It allowed the Warriors to build a 31-15 lead at halftime.

“We knew we had to come out of the gate hard and keep it going,” Julian said.

Carlynton’s offense got going in the third and trimmed the deficit to 12 points, 35-23, on Kendall Kline’s 3-pointer.

Mohawk carried a 45-32 lead into the final frame. After Julian’s bucket made it a 49-32 game 33 seconds in the fourth, Carlynton marched back. The Cougars produced a 7-0 run and cut the deficit to 10 points, 49-39, on a Williams trey with 5:40 to play.

Lee’s 3-pointer trimmed the deficit to 63-56 with 32.3 seconds to go, but the Cougars ran out of time.

“Unfortunately, the first half of basketball counts like the second half. But we did all we could do. We played tough,” Carlynton coach Darian Robins said. “We talked at halftime and just really wanted to focus on the defensive end and make sure we were putting as much pressure as we possibly could. I think that led to a few turnovers, a couple threes and it gave us a little more momentum.

“We just came out too flat in the first half. That 16-point deficit was just too much.”

Julian led all scorers with 33 points. Nadia Lape had 15, and Karly McCutcheon finished with nine.

“We really played well (in the first half),” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said. “I don’t know what changed, defensively, in the second half. I just felt like they made a lot of shots they missed in the first half. It might be that simple because we didn’t allow a lot of penetration. When you’re behind, you’re going to start going harder and start shooting more to try to catch up.”

Kline scored a team-high 17 points for the Cougars. Lee had 15, and Chloe Williams had 13.

Listen to an archived broadcast on Trib HSSN.

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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