Southmoreland girls put WPIAL loss behind them, focus on PIAAs

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Sunday, March 1, 2020 | 6:17 PM


All season, Southmoreland has celebrated defense.

Taking charges, ripping away steals and blocking shots were reasons to revel as the team made emphatic stops on the opponents’ end of the floor.

But the Scotties want to celebrate something else: a championship.

While their magical WPIAL season came to an end Friday night — and with it, their perfect record — the PIAA playoffs await.

Southmoreland (24-1) got a taste of the big stage and wants another shot. The team will make its PIAA playoff debut with hopes of playing for a state title.

The Scotties face District 6 Class 4A runner-up Huntingdon (13-11) on Saturday in the first round at a time and place yet to be announced.

“The good news is that we get a full week (off),” said Scotties coach Brian Pritts. “Our girls love to compete. They know this wasn’t us (in the WPIAL final). That’s the mindset they have (for the state playoffs).”

Top-seeded North Catholic (24-1) ended the Scotties’ 24-game winning streak by defeating them 61-44 in the WPIAL Class 4A final at Petersen Events Center.

North Catholic has won four straight WPIAL titles and 20 overall, a district record.

The Scotties made their first WPIAL finals appearance.

“We still have states, and we’ll be ready,” senior guard Charity Henderson said.

Southmoreland played close with the Trojans early but could not match baskets with them into the second quarter, when the tide turned sharply in North Catholic’s favor.

Senior leadership seemed to help the Trojans, who saw seven girls capture their fourth WPIAL title.

“We’ll remember this feeling, and we know we don’t want to feel it again,” Scotties senior forward Sarah Pisula said.

Southmoreland had not allowed more than 60 points all season, surrendering a then-season-high 52 to Central Valley after giving up 51 to Freeport in back-to-back playoff games.

Reminding itself what it does best will serve as a refresher for the state tournament.

“We’ll get back to what we do,” Pritts said. “Making it to the Pete was a great experience. The girls are building memories. Years from now, they won’t remember the score (of the WPIAL final), but they’ll remember the experience of getting here.”

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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