Westmoreland girls basketball notebook: Mt. Pleasant’s Tiffany Zelmore quietly emerges

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | 6:13 PM


As far as scorers go, Mt. Pleasant might have the best-kept secret in WPIAL Class 4A girls basketball.

Sophomore Tiffany Zelmore has been on a scoring tear of late, with 35- and 30-point efforts in back-to-back wins. The 5-foot-10 forward had 35 in a 57-52 victory over South Allegheny, and she scored 30 as the Vikings downed East Allegheny, 41-37.

Earlier in the season, she registered 35 in a 65-30 win over Ligonier Valley.

“Tiffany’s been steadily and consistently excellent in her offensive attack,” Mt. Pleasant coach Scott Giacobbi said.

Zelmore is averaging 21 points and 9 rebounds for the Vikings (9-7), who visit Freeport (8-2) in the first round of the playoffs at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

While putbacks and post-up baskets are her modus operandi, Zelmore has sneaky-good touch from outside the paint.

“She can be relentless with the ball inside but can also score from the perimeter,” Giacobbi said. “Of course, we’ve also got some hard-working and savvy passers who get her the ball.”

Before this season, no Mt. Pleasant player had scored 30 or more points in a game since 2014.

Yough bows out

Yough’s first trip to the WPIAL girls basketball playoffs since 2009-10 is over before it started.

Covid-19 contact tracing showed the Cougars played a team last week that had a player test positive for the virus, so Yough, out of an abundance of caution, withdrew from the Class 4A tournament.

Yough’s team will quarantine for 14 days but won’t play any more games this season, coach Mike Gerdich said.

“Everyone is really disappointed,” he said.

Yough (4-10), which has more wins this season than it had in the previous seven, made significant improvements on the court. Namely, the Cougars broke a 99-game section losing streak.

“Our athletic director and administration reached out to the team members and their families, and to myself, to relay the bad news,” Gerdich said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened, but we were grateful to have almost gotten through the whole season and almost got a chance to take part in playoffs.”

Make it stop

The Greensburg Central Catholic girls can’t seem to get back on the court. The Centurions can’t seem to catch a break — unless you count a water main break.

GCC played Monday at Winchester Thurston but saw Tuesday’s home game get canceled because of a water issue at GCC. The Centurions were supposed to play Wednesday at Springdale, but the Dynamos had to cancel over a possible covid issue. That game initially was postponed because of snowy weather.

The Centurions (7-4) are the higher seed (12) but will go on the road in the preliminary round of the playoffs because its gym is too small. They play No. 21 Northgate at noon Saturday at Sewickley Academy.

Mother dearest

Southmoreland first-year coach Amber Cernuto was the first 1,000-point scorer in Scotties girls basketball history. Susan Spadaro, one of her assistant coaches this season, was the second to reach the milestone in the program.

The coaches could see their daughters follow in their footsteps. Sophomore point guard Olivia Cernuto and junior forward Gracie Spadaro are halfway to the 1,000-point plateau. Through late last week, Spadaro had 766 points and Cernuto 498 as the Scotties look to begin another lengthy playoff run.

Happy returns

The WPIAL’s open playoffs format has ended playoff droughts for some area programs.

Take Jeannette. The Jayhawks have not been to the postseason since 2013-14.

Conversely, streaks in the other direction also continued. Greensburg Central Catholic will make its 21st straight postseason appearance, and Norwin its 20th in a row.

More games allowed

The WPIAL is allowing teams to play additional regular-season games up until the date of their playoff game.

Once a team is eliminated, it can continue to play games until March 27, up to the 22-game maximum. Teams are not permitted to play games between playoff games.

Scrimmages are allowed as usual during the playoffs.

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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