WPIAL Class 3A girls basketball final preview: Neshannock vs. Shady Side Academy

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Friday, March 1, 2019 | 7:30 PM


Class 3A girls

Neshannock (22-2) vs. Shady Side Academy (19-3)

11 a.m. Saturday, Petersen Events Center

Starting lineups

No. 1 Neshannock (22-2)

Coach: Luann Grybowski

No. Player, Pos., Ht., Yr.

1 Neleh Nogay, G, 5-4, Fr.

12 Kaylee George, G, 5-7, Jr.

15 Bella Burrelli, F, 5-11, Sr.

21 Ellina DeLillo, G, 5-3, Jr.

24 Brie Dean, F, 5-9, Sr.

No. 3 Shady Side Academy (19-3)

Coach: Amy Szlachetka

No. Player, Pos., Ht., Yr.

11 Ariana Goitz, G, 5-6, Sr.

15 Emmie Lau, F, 6-0, Sr.

23 Ella Benec, F, 5-8, Sr.

24 Nyla Rozier, G, 5-11, So.

33 Catherine Jewart, G, 5-6, Sr.

Title game history: These two programs are a little green when it comes to championship experience, and one of them will be hoisting gold for the first time. The Lancers’ only other title-game appearance was two years ago when they lost to Bishop Canevin, 65-36, in the Class 3A final. This is Shady Side Academy’s first championship game appearance.

Stat leaders: Nesh: Bella Burrelli 17.6; SSA: Ariana Goitz 15.9

Notable: After a 4-2 start to the season, Neshannock has won 18 straight games. Only two of the 18 wins have been decided by 10 points or less — a three-point win over Slippery Rock and a three-point victory at Beaver. Grybowski guided New Castle to three WPIAL championships in 2004, ‘07 and ‘09 before taking the Neshannock job prior to the 2009-10 season. Something has to give as Neshannock had the top offense in all of Class 3A, averaging 61.2 points, while Shady Side Academy has the top defense, yielding only 31.8 points per game. … The Indians have turned things around quickly in the three years under Szlachetka, winning only seven games two years ago and going 11-10 last season but missing out on the playoffs. SSA enjoyed win streaks of seven and nine games this season before dropping two of its final three to conclude the regular season. The last time the Lancers and Indians played was in the first round of the 2015 Class AA playoffs, with Neshannock winning 39-24.

Predicted winner: Neshannock

Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.

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