WPIAL champion Neshannock girls ousted by Delone Catholic in PIAA quarterfinals
Friday, March 15, 2019 | 8:34 PM
ALTOONA — The 2018-19 Neshannock girls basketball team won 25 games and a WPIAL championship.
Unfortunately, one quarter is going to haunt the Lancers.
Neshannock endured a polar vortex of a cold spell in the fourth. District 3 runner-up Delone Catholic took advantage with a 17-point swing to sideline the Lancers, 50-41, in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals Friday night at the Altoona Area High School Field House.
“That was about the worst fourth quarter of my 39 years of coaching,” Lancer coach Luann Grybowski said. “I can’t put my finger on (what went wrong). They turned up the pressure a bit, and we made poor decisions.”
Neleh Nogay’s three-point play with 40.8 seconds left accounted for Neshannock’s only scoring of the quarter. The Lancers were 1 for 14 from the field in the fourth quarter, 1 for 6 at the foul line and turned the ball over five times — they only turned it over six times through the first three quarters.
Brianna Dean’s 3-pointer from the corner at the end of the third quarter appeared to stunt a Delone rally and send the Lancers into the final frame with momentum. However, the Squirettes tied it on Brooke Lawyer’s fastbreak layup at the 4:53 mark and took the lead for good on Bradi Zumbrum’s basket 25 seconds later, part of a 18-0 run.
“We felt we had a depth advantage. Our goal was to force the issue and try to tire them out,” Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode said.
Neshannock got off to a fast start, scoring the first six points and forcing a Delone timeout less than 2 minutes into the contest. The Lancers never trailed in the first half, taking a 23-16 advantage into the locker room after Kaylee George’s free throw.
“We outplayed them for three quarters. Totally outplayed them,” Grybowski said. “Did everything we wanted to do defensively. Then, in the fourth quarter, we fell apart.”
Nogay’s 12 points fronted Neshannock (25-3). Brianna Dean scored 10, and Bella Burelli collected nine points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Zumbrum paced all scorers with 16. Lawyer, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with 11, as did Riley Vingsen for Delone (24-4).
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