Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Latrobe’s Anna Rafferty

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Saturday, April 3, 2021 | 3:08 PM


Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Basketball Player of the Year

Anna Rafferty, Latrobe

6-2, Jr., C

With defenders closing in all around her — and looking up at her in the process — Anna Rafferty calmly paused and made moves to the basket.

Time and again, the junior center from Latrobe seemed to pause the game and slowly move into a bank shot. There weren’t many teams that could stop it, either.

The 6-foot-2 Rafferty owned the low block as Latrobe made the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals — the team’s first final four appearance since 1998.

Her play earned her Trib Westmoreland Player of the Year honors.

“Anna had a remarkable season, considering she was constantly being double-teamed,” Latrobe coach Mark Burkhardt said. “Although she averaged a double-double, she was never worried about her own statistics and would do whatever was necessary for the team to succeed. Her skills and selflessness were major factors in helping us reach the WPIAL semifinals.”

Rafferty led the Wildcats with a 13-point average and also pulled down 10 rebounds a game. With her ability to establish position in the post, most of her offense came from around the basket. In a time when players thrive from the 3-point line, Rafferty threw it back to traditional frontcourt play.

Latrobe went 14-3 and won its first section title since 2006-07, cutting down the nets before a playoff run that eventually ended with a loss to powerhouse Chartiers Valley in the semifinals.

“It was amazing to be a part of such a great team,” Rafferty said. “I know all the coaches have been working hard for the past few years to get the program into a good spot, and I feel that this year it really paid off.”

Rafferty, a Western PA Bruins player, teamed with fellow frontcourt player Emma Blair (6-1) to form the Wildcats’ “Twin Towers.” The duo is set to return next season, which will make Latrobe one of the teams to beat again in 5A.

“From me and Emma, you can expect even better teamwork,” Rafferty said. “I think I can speak for both of us when we say we love the sport, and it’ll be great when we’re both upperclassmen.”

Rafferty is a likable teammate who often sparked her teammates to scoring runs.

“Her success is due to her work ethic, which also applies to the classroom,” Burkhardt said. “She is an outstanding basketball player, student and most importantly, an outstanding young lady.”

Rafferty credits her extra work for her varsity success.

“My AAU season helped a little, but overall, I think it was working hard in the season and seeing it pay off that really pushed me,” she said. “I think playing together last year helped us a lot, since we basically have the same team as last year. We had a great support system and nothing to lose, which I feel helped us to make it so far.”

First team

Emma Blair, So., F, Latrobe — Productive post player helped the Wildcats in a number of ways (10.8 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 51% FGs) as they made the WPIAL 5A semifinals.

Olivia Cernuto, So., G, Southmoreland — Versatile point guard helped Scotties reach WPIAL 4A semifinals for second straight season, averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 5.3 steals per game.

Bailey Kuhns, Jr., F, Greensburg Central Catholic — Versatile swing-forward averaged 17 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks and shot over 50% from the field for Centurions.

Abby Mankins, Jr., G, Greensburg Salem — Golden Lions’ go-to scorer led team with 16-point average, increasing her career total to 940 points, and also contributed 6.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.3 steals.

Tiana Moracco, Jr., G, Derry — The Lady Trojans’ leading scorer for the second season in a row, she averaged 19.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 2.1 assists.

Danielle Rosso, Sr., G, Norwin — All-around team leader and West Liberty commit averaged 10.3 points and 3 rebounds a game as Lady Knights went to WPIAL playoffs for 20th straight time.

Gracie Spadaro, Jr., F, Southmoreland — Reigning player of the year averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals as the Scotties made another run to the WPIAL 4A semifinals.

Maura Suman, Jr., G, Penn-Trafford — Lady Warriors’ floor leader was an all-section pick and averaged 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals for playoff team.

Tiffany Zelmore, So., F, Mt. Pleasant — Another player who arrived on the scene this season, she averaged 19.6 points and 8.1 rebounds, and topped 30 points three times for the Lady Vikings.

Second team

Haley Boyd, So., G, Ligonier Valley

Maria Brush, Sr., G, Franklin Regional

Emma Hoffner, Sr., F, Hempfield

Mercedes Majors, Jr., G, Monessen

Brooke McCoy, So., F, Hempfield

Mya Morgan, Fr., G, Greensburg Central Catholic

Mara Polczynski, Sr., G, Norwin

Allie Prady, Sr., G, Penn-Trafford

Rachel Ridilla, Sr., G, Latrobe

Taylor Rodriguez, Sr., G, Belle Vernon

Brianna Zajicek, Jr., F, Norwin

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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