Seton LaSalle girls get revenge on Deer Lakes

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 8:32 PM


For the second year in a row, the Deer Lakes and Seton LaSalle girls basketball teams met in the first round of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

The Lancers hoped for a repeat performance of last year’s 15-point victory while the Rebels hoped for a measure of revenge.

The game didn’t start well for Seton LaSalle, which trailed by 14 early in the second quarter and by 10 at halftime, but it ended well for the No. 8 seed, which rallied to pull out a 56-52 victory.

“The girls played their hearts out. They want to play hard, as it is one and done,” Seton LaSalle coach Jordan Giles said.

“They were making those mistakes early on, but I knew they could get back in the game if they were able to control those little details. They were down 10 at the half, and I told them there is no 10-point shot that will ever win a game. They had to be patient and get a stop and a score and get another and another. They did that, and I am very proud of them.”

Seton LaSalle (15-7) advances to Saturday’s quarterfinals and a date with No. 1 Beaver at a site and time to be determined.

“I’m going to let them enjoy this one for a little bit, but (Thursday) they will be back at it full force in practice,” Giles said.

Seton LaSalle used a 14-6 third quarter to close the deficit to 34-32 heading into the fourth. The Rebels gained the lead for the first time, 36-35, on a layup from Sarah Merlina with 6:52 left in regulation.

The advantage swelled to 10 points on two occasions later in the fourth. Deer Lakes attempted a furious rally of their own in the closing minutes.

A rebound and layup from Jessica Sullivan with 1:03 on the clock cut the Seton lead to 52-49, but the Lancers did not get any closer.

The Rebels were able to get the victory despite committing 29 turnovers. Twenty-one came in the first half.

Four players scored in double figures for Seton LaSalle. Ava Dursi, who battled through foul trouble in the first half, scored 14 of her team-best 16 points in the second half. Emma Walsh and Chloe Lestitian each scored 13, and Merlina tallied 11.

Deer Lakes sophomore Reese Hasley led all scorers with 22 points. She opened with 10 points in the first quarter. She hit a 3-pointer and was 5 of 6 from the line.

The Lancers’ lone senior, Makayla Blair, added 11 points. Nine of her points came from the free-throw line on 9 of 14 shooting.

Junior Cameron Simurda contributed nine points for Deer Lakes, which finished its season at 13-10.

From the 54-second mark of the first quarter until there was 2:59 left in the fourth quarter, the Lancers made just four field goals.

“We executed well early, and then things changed,” Deer Lakes coach Dave Petruska said. “We had so many shots that just didn’t go our way. We got so many good looks throughout the entire game. It really wasn’t about who wanted it more, as both teams really wanted it. It came down to who had more shots go in.

“But I give my girls a lot of credit. They played hard the whole game. My heart is just breaking for my senior.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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