WPIAL Girls Basketball Player of the Week — Week ending Feb. 1

Sunday, February 2, 2020 | 7:23 PM

When the week began, Charleroi was tied with Brownsville for third place in girls basketball Section 2-3A.

Thanks to another big week by senior Bella Skobel, though, the Cougars are alone in third and have clinched a WPIAL playoff spot.

That itself is cause for celebration after Charleroi finished 5-16 overall a year ago.

Skobel has been a big part of the turnaround for the Cougars, scoring 367 points this season. She is in the top 15 in the WPIAL, averaging 19 points.

“Bella has led more by example with her ability to score,” second-year Charleroi coach Bill Wagner said.

Skobel’s ability to score resulted in 27 points in a 20-point victory over Washington. She followed that with 21 points as Charleroi stunned first place Seton LaSalle, 55-43, on Thursday on the road.

“The key to her scoring at Seton LaSalle was our gameplan to put her in good positions to score,” Wagner said. “We played to her strengths to get her in good scoring opportunities.”

Wagner believes some of the aspects of her game she needed to improve have become her strengths this season.

“Her ability to handle the basketball and score off the dribble, whether that is a layup, jump shot or a running shot,” Wagner said. “Her ability to score and the way she can handle the ball to beat competitor.”

Charleroi closes the season with section games against Brownsville and Beth-Center this week, then it will be on to the postseason.

Not bad for a team that won two section games last year and finished in last place in the eight-team Section 2.

“We have won eight section games,” Wagner said. “Our approach is simple: take it one game at a time, play within ourselves and stick to our gameplan and finish the season strong.”

Honorable mention:

Bella Pelaia, Mars

Last week must have been a good week for anybody named Bella. Mars senior Bella Pelaia scored 60 points in three games. She scored 19 in a section win over Franklin Regional. The next day, she had 20 in a nonsection loss to Knoch then capped a busy week with 21 points in a nonsection triumph over Hollidaysburg.

Hope Cook, Indiana

Hope springs eternal for every team once the playoffs begin. For Indiana, Hope springs the Little Indians into the postseason. The sophomore Cook scored 25 points in a rout of Burrell, then she scored 38 points as the Little Indians clinched a playoff berth with a road victory against Highlands.

Hailey Drutarosky, Quigley Catholic

There is still work to do, but Quigley Catholic enters the final week of the regular season with a chance at qualifying for the Class A playoffs thanks to the steady hand of Drutarosky. The junior scored 25 points in a nonsection win over St. Joseph. Then, 24 hours later, she scored 25 points again in a season-saving win over Eden Christian Academy, leaving the Spartans tied for fourth place with the Warriors.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week Six – Sydney Cook, New Brighton

Week Five – Reilly Sunday, Moon

Week Four – Ashleigh Connor, Mt. Lebanon

Week Three – Alyssa Pollice, Bishop Canevin

Week Two – Jhayla Bray, McKeesport

Week One – Kennedie Montue, Plum

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