PIAA Class 2A girls basketball championship breakdown: Neshannock vs. Mount Carmel

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021 | 6:16 PM


PIAA Class 2A girls basketball championship

No. 1 Neshannock vs. No. 2 Mount Carmel

Noon Thursday at Giant Center, Hershey

On the air: PCN (video); TribHSSN.TribLive.com/WKST-AM 1200 (audio)

How they got here: District 4 champion Neshannock defeated District 5 champion Windber, 51-48, in the quarterfinals and District 6 champ Penns Manor, 39-36 in overtime, in the semifinals. Mount Carmel defeated District 2 champ Holy Cross, 50-47, in the quarterfinals and District 11 champ Mahanoy Area, 52-33, in the semifinals.

Starting lineups

Mount Carmel (18-5)

Coach: Lisa Varano

No., Player, Pos., Ht., Yr.

4, Lauren Ayres, G, 5-2, Sr.

5, Mia Chapman, G, 5-4, Jr.

13, Caroline Fletcher, 5-8, F, Sr.

15, Lauren Shedleski, 5-9, F, Sr.

32, Dani Rae Renno, 6-2, C, Sr.

Neshannock (19-2)

Coach: Luann Grybowski

No., Player, Pos., Ht., Yr.

1, Neleh Nogay, 5-6, G, Jr.

11, Addi Watts, 5-8, G, Jr.

20, Aaralyn Nogay, 5-7, G, So.

24, Megan Pallerino, 5-10, F, So.

34, Mairan Haggerty, 5-11, G, So.

Title-game history: Both schools are making their first appearance in a state final.

Notable: Mount Carmel starts four seniors, including a formidable post presence in the 6-foot-2 Renno at center. Renno averages 21 points and 10 rebounds and is a defensive deterrent in the paint. Mount Carmel leans on its depth with a nine-player rotation. Five players scored at least seven points in the semifinals against Mahanoy Area. Chapman and Fletcher led the way with 10 each. Varano is in her 12th year as coach of the Red Tornadoes. She is 260-57 with 10 district titles. … Neshannock will start two juniors and three sophomores. Neleh Nogay (15.1), Haggerty (14.5) and Watts (12.2) average in double figures. The Lancers won their PIAA games in very different ways, taking a 14-point lead on Windber and holding on in the quarterfinals and trailing by 13 in the second half before holding Penns Manor scoreless for the final 8:12 of the game in the semifinals. Grybowski, in her 41st season as coach with 685 wins to her credit, is seeking her first state title. She is 212-79 at Neshannock.

Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at jbombulie@triblive.com.

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