Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Week: March 27, 2022

Sunday, March 27, 2022 | 6:29 PM

Last season, Neshannnock celebrated a second WPIAL girls basketball championship in three years after beating Serra Catholic in the Class 2A finals.

But it wasn’t that win that sparked the young Lancers in 2022.

Neshannock reached the PIAA Class 2A finals a year ago and lost 54-43 to Mount Carmel. It was that loss that stoked the Lancers to greater success this winter.

“Absolutely,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. The girls were really disappointed in the silver and with the way they played. I hung the silver medal in the ball rack on the first day of practice. It was a daily reminder of where they wanted to be this year. Hershey was the goal.”

Mission accomplished.

Thanks to the play of junior Mairan Haggerty, the Lancers defeated Southern Columbia, 62-56, to capture the school’s first girls basketball state championship.

“She played and all-around game and was a key to our win,” Grybowski said of Haggerty. “She scored outside, inside, defended and blocked six shots.”

On a team that many nights had several girls scoring in double figures, Haggerty stepped up in Hershey, scoring a game-high 23 points and doing so much more to turn silver into gold.

“She did it all in different ways,” Grybowski said. “She hit the 3s, attacked the basket, rebounded, defended and blocked shots. She played all 32 minutes as well as (Neleh) Nogay and (Addi) Watts. She had 95 3-pointers this year and led us in rebounding and blocks with an average of 8 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.”

Haggerty averaged 19 points per game as the Lancers finished the season with a record of 29-2.

“Mairan’s strength is she is a pure shooter, and she attacks the basket extremely well,” Grybowski said. “She is a top rebounder and has become a great shot blocker as well.”

Grynowski believes it was a year of growth for the 6-foot-1 junior and not necessarily from a size perspective.

“Mairan has matured immensely and has become much more composed as a player,” she said. “She has grown mentally and emotionally as well. Last year, she was just a stand-around perimeter shooter. She has grown into an all-around player and floor leader as well who now attacks the basket with a vengeance and purpose, rebounds, defends and leads the team in blocks, without fouling. She has grown as a player in every way needed to become a player at the next level.”

The next level will have to wait. While Lancers seniors Nogay and Watts will be missed when they graduate in a few months, Haggerty is ready to take over as a leader and help Neshannock strive for a district three-peat and back-to-back state championships.

“Mairan must grow into that leadership role for us next season for us to be successful,” Grybowski said. “She has the potential and ability to lead our team to another trip to the WPIAL and PIAA. She has come a long way this year, and I have the confidence Mairan will embrace that role, and the team will follow her lead.”

2022 Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Players of the Week

Week 12: Ashleigh Connor, Mt. Lebanon

Week 11: Alayna Rocco, North Catholic

Week 10: Maddie Webber, South Fayette

Week 9: Journey Thompson, Peters Township

Week 8: Nadia Moore, Winchester Thurston

Week 7: Mallory Daly, Seton LaSalle

Week 6: Olivia West, Seneca Valley

Week 5: Graci Fairman, Thomas Jefferson

Week 4: Corynne Hauser, Rochester

Week 3: Aislin Malcolm, Chartiers Valley

Week 2: Julia Ogrodowski, Beth-Center

Week 1: Morgan Altavilla, Baldwin


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