Patience pays off as Woodland Hills outlasts Greensburg Salem

Monday, January 10, 2022 | 10:07 PM

With offense relegated to half-court sets and fouls piling up, the more patient team was going to have the advantage down the stretch.

Woodland Hills played like it had that trait in its back pocket and methodically pulled away from upstart Greensburg Salem, which played its first Section 4-5A girls basketball game of the season.

The Golden Lions were strong at times but faded some in the fourth quarter — just as the Wolverines were gaining confidence — and lost 49-40 on Monday night in Greensburg.

The early section litmus test showed Greensburg Salem (9-2, 0-1) can play with one of the better teams but also proved Woodland Hills (5-3, 3-1) is not going to make it any easier on the Golden Lions.

Greensburg Salem has developed a reputation for pressuring teams and forcing mistakes. But Woodland Hills, which had five girls score at least seven points, wasn’t having any of that as it quickly adjusted and forced the Golden Lions to defend it in the half court.

“We knew they were going to pressure us, but we stayed the course,” Woodland Hills coach Von Pitts said. “Once we settled down in a hostile environment, we were fine. Our girls are battle-tested, and they showed that tonight.”

Freshman London Creach was a difference-maker for the Wolverines, scoring a team-high 12 points, seven in the second half.

“We knew their guards were really good, but London was the x-factor,” Greensburg Salem coach Rick Klimchock said. “Their guards are very seasoned and experienced.”

Greensburg Salem pulled even with the Wolverines, at 33-33, after three quarters. But the Golden Lions were outscored 16-7 in the fourth, managing just two field goals in the last eight minutes.

Senior Jasmyn Fisher added 11 points for Woodland Hills, including two second-half 3-pointers, the second of which pushed the lead to 44-36 with 3 minutes, 22 seconds remaining.

Junior Kayla Walter came up with a steal and kicked out to Fisher on the wing. Shortly after, Creach drove through a wide-open lane for a layup and a 10-point lead.

“I stressed over the last six minutes that we had to pace ourselves,” Pitts said. “We did a pretty good job at that.”

Pitts said teams tend to take Creach lightly, until they see what she can do.

“She is deceptively long,” he said. “She can guard 1 through 4 in certain situations.”

Senior Abby Mankins, who led all scorers with 13 points — she and her sister, sophomore Kaitlyin Mankins, played with four fouls late — scored inside to cut it to 46-40. But that is as close as the Golden Lions got.

“They kind of got us out of our sets, and we were just running fire at them,” Klimchock said. “We need to develop more scoring. Our girls played hard, and I am pleased with that. We’re in a tough league. We can’t dwell on this one.”

Greensburg Salem led briefly late in the third quarter. Senior Carissa Caldwell made one of her three 3s, and Kaitlyn Mankins followed with a turnaround basket to put the Lions ahead, 30-25.

Woodland Hills closed the gap as Fisher made a 3, but Greensburg Salem freshman Regan Kerr knocked down a 3 from the wing to beat the buzzer and tie it.

Woodland Hills had a 21-19 lead at halftime.

Caldwell finished with nine points and Kaitlyn Mankins chipped in eight.

Walter scored nine, sophomore Carmen Vazquez added eight and senior Jazmine Dunn had seven for Woodland Hills.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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