Trib HSSN girls basketball player of the week for Feb. 5, 2023

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Sunday, February 5, 2023 | 7:37 PM


Neshannock senior Mairan Haggerty has become a versatile and valuable player for the Lancers.

At 6-foot-1, she is the tallest player on the roster, so, many times, he will be tussling with opponents for position on the blocks.

But she also can handle the ball and score from the perimeter with a sweet shooting stroke.

“This season she has become well-rounded, a little more vocal as a leader and improved on the defensive end of the floor and as a rebounder,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “She has had to do a lot more this year, and that is added pressure for sure. Mairan is also a three-dimensional threat as a scorer as she attacks well, shoots the pull-up very well and the 3, the deep 3. She is fun to watch when she is zoned in in her element.”

Haggerty was at the top of her game this past week in helping Neshannock move into a tie for the lead in Section 1-3A with a pair of wins that improved the Lancers to 13-6 overall. The team now has four straight victories and a run of eight wins in their last nine games.

“This year, we were struggling a little bit in the beginning of the year with defense,” Haggerty said. “Now, in getting through a bit of this season, we felt each other out because there are new players on the court, we just had to click and play defense.”

On Monday, Neshannock hosted Laurel (17-2) for first place in the section. Haggerty scored 37 points and had 14 rebounds as the Lancers used a big third quarter and outscored the Spartans, 23-10 on their way to a big win, 72-55.

“Mairan’s leadership and energy stood out on both ends of the floor in our win over Laurel,” Grybowski said. “She was by far the best player on the floor in all areas. She defended the opponent’s best player, rebounded exceptionally, handled the pressure, found open teammates and scored at will. One of the best individual performances by a player of mine in a big time game in all my years of coaching, and that is a huge accomplishment since I have coached some great players.”

Said Haggerty: “We all knew it was going to be tough. We didn’t rebound well the first time we played because I was in foul trouble, so I knew I was really going to have to get down there and rebound. I did pick up two early fouls in the first quarter. I knew I couldn’t foul anymore, but I had to rebound and that’s how I scored underneath.”

There was no letdown for the Lancers after Monday’s win. Neshannock took care of business Thursday against Riverside, 65-32.

“Against Riverside, she stayed focused and had another great night on both ends, and that is hard to do with a big lead,” Grybowski said. “She hit five 3s this game. She takes what the defense gives her. She had another double-double as well.”

Haggerty again scored above her average of 22 points per game by leading the Lancers with 23.

With several key players having graduated from last year’s WPIAL and PIAA championship team, Haggerty has had no problem filling into the leadership role for her team.

“It has definitely taken some time for her to settle into a leadership role,” Grybowski said. “In the last two weeks, she has really evolved into the well-rounded, total control type player I knew she could be. She has become more vocal and is leading by example with a renewed focus on defense and rebounding. I am asking her to do a lot, and she is rising to the occasion for sure. She is playing her best basketball, and we will go as far as her leadership takes us.”

Grybowski likes her team a lot and believes it is peaking at the right time in its effort to reach the district finals for a third straight year.

“They know what it takes and what to expect during the playoff stretch run. It is grueling and demanding for sure, and they are aware they have to up the level of energy, intensity and focus to be successful. There are a lot of good teams in 3A, so we will have to be at our best defensively to succeed.”

2023 Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Players of the Week

Week 4: Iyanna Wade, Clairton

Week 3: Shaye Bailey, Freedom

Week 2: Rylee Kalocay, Upper St. Clair

Week 1: McKenna DeUnger, Charleroi

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