Upper St. Clair girls work for gritty win over Shaler

Friday, December 8, 2023 | 11:54 PM

Upper St. Clair started the week with a tough loss against defending WPIAL Class 5A champion South Fayette but ended the week with back-to-back wins on consecutive nights.

A day after defeating Thomas Jefferson, USC went toe to toe with Shaler before edging the Titans in a nonsection contest, 45-37.

“We showed a lot of grit,” Upper St. Clair coach Pete Serio said. “We had a physical game (Thursday), so this was our third game in four days. I was a little concerned about that, and I think it showed the way we fouled. Maybe we didn’t have our legs so much on defense.”

The Panthers got off to a quick start, but junior standout Rylee Kalocay sat for a good portion of the second quarter and was joined on the bench in foul trouble by sophomore Ryan Prunzik.

The Titans trailed by seven points at the half, but had a strong start to the second half to pull to within two points after three quarters.

However, Kalocay had an effective second half, scoring nine of her game-high 15 points in the final two quarters.

“It was a tough 15 points,” Serio said. “Rylee’s going to see that in-your-face, man-to-man defense, and they did a nice job. She missed some free throws, which is unlike Rylee, but she gritted it out and made some good decisions with her passes and the other kids stepped up. I thought the other kids really played well.”

Junior Olivia Terlecki scored 11 points for Upper St. Clair, which improves to 3-2.

Shaler (1-3) was led by juniors Bayleigh Perez with 15 points and Jorja Bernesser with 12.

“Experience is what I’m looking for,” Serio said. “We lost four starters and those other girls had minimal varsity experience. Just the way they are jelling together, we’ve gotten better in every game we’ve played.”

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