Westmoreland County girls basketball notebook: GCC’s Scala making impact

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 5:53 PM

Gia Scala sat out with an injury and waited to get cleared to return to basketball at Greensburg Central Catholic.

She missed the first three games but quickly made her presence known when she returned.

Scala, who is from North Huntingdon and attended Norwin before transferring to GCC, has scored in double figures in six games since, including 20- and 21-point games, for Class A No. 4 GCC (8-3), which leads Section 3 with a 5-0 mark.

“I couldn’t wait to get back and start playing again,” Scala said. GCC had to shift gears after senior standout and top scorer Melina Maietta was dismissed from the team during a tip-off tournament at Laurel Highlands.

“We’re both from Norwin and we’re friends, so it was tough,” said Scala, who had looked forward to playing with Maietta but has accepted a leadership role. “We have regrouped and are playing well as a team.”

Rafferty back for Latrobe

Latrobe has benefited from the return of sophomore 6-foot-2 forward Anna Rafferty, who is considered a Division I prospect.

Rafferty, who came back in late December for the team’s holiday tournament, is averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds. On Tuesday at Penn-Trafford, she scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in a 44-41 win.

“It’s nice to have her in the lineup again, and to have a full lineup, especially against the really good teams,” Latrobe coach Mark Burkhardt said. “She gives us nice balance. We take what teams give us, but having Anna takes some of the pressure off Rachel (Ridilla).”

Double trouble

Monessen senior swing guard Qitarah Hardison has been one of the most productive players in the county of late. The 5-8 Hardison has eight consecutive double-doubles. That includes 16-rebound games against Propel Andrew Street and Jefferson Morgan.

She scored 22 in a win over 3A West Mifflin.

Kuhns practicing

Bailey Kuhns, the sophomore standout who transferred from Southmoreland to Greensburg Central Catholic, is making her teammates better already.

Kuhns, who can practice but is not allowed to play in games, will not be eligible to play until she satisfies a PIAA rule by sitting out 21 days from the time she transferred. That would make her eligible around Jan. 26 and would give her six games in which to play.

She is ineligible for the playoffs.

“Bailey is a great kid and is super hard-working,” GCC coach Sam Salih said. “She has raised the level of our practices with her work ethic. Our junior class is going to be strong if they keep working.”

Vertacnik nears milestone

Much-improved Monessen is closing in on a WPIAL Class A playoff berth and the journey could include a milestone for second-year coach Janine Vertacnik.

The former Jeannette, Greensburg Salem, Pitt-Greensburg and Yough coach needs three wins to reach 300 for her career.

She won 90 games and a WPIAL title at Jeannette.

The Greyhounds’ senior class went 0-22 as freshmen, 3-18 as sophomores and 7-15 last season.

Ranking ‘em

Unbeaten Southmoreland (14-0) jumped a spot to No. 2 in this week’s Trib Class 4A rankings.

Norwin remained at No. 2 in Class 6A, while Derry moved from No. 5 to 4 in 3A, and GCC stayed at No. 4 in Class A.

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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