WPIAL Girls Basketball Player of the Week — Week ending Jan. 11

Sunday, January 12, 2020 | 7:59 PM

The 2018-19 season was a struggle for perennial girls basketball power Mt. Lebanon. While section rival Peters Township was perfect, the Blue Devils finished 12-11 and lost to Norwin in the opening round of the playoffs.

But it was hardly a lost season for Mt. Lebanon, as it marked the start of several careers, including current sophomore starter Ashleigh Connor.

“I thought she had an exceptional freshman year for us last season,” Mt. Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker said. “Freshman year is always a learning curve, but she was and continues to be so coachable.”

Connor is one of three sophomores starting for a Blue Devils, who are in second place in Section 2-6A with a 5-1 record, one game behind top-ranked Bethel Park. Mt. Lebanon is 10-2 overall.

“Ashleigh understands her role on our team,” Oldaker said. “She is very close friends with our captains, senior Patrice Smith and junior Morgan Palmer. Ashleigh is a gym rat, and, in that sense, she is a leader. She always wants to improve her game and works tirelessly to do so.”

The 5-foot-10 guard’s hard work is paying off as Connor is one of the top scorers in the WPIAL, averaging nearly 23 points.

Last week, in a pair of section victories, Connor led the way with 26 points in a win at Canon-McMillan and 28 as the Blue Devils rolled past defending champion Peters Township, 70-38.

“Ashleigh has uncanny ways of scoring. Whether it’s through our offensive sets, making a steal, anticipating a pass, she is always where the ball is,” Oldaker said. “The Canon-Mac or Peters Township games were no different than any other games for her. She is also unselfish and finds her teammates to score as well.”

Oldaker said the mix of Connor’s God-given talent, work ethic and love for the game have added up to a special player midway through her second season.

“She can penetrate, kick out and shoot the three,” Oldaker said. “She has grown in every area of her game.”

Mt. Lebanon has won six straight games as it prepares to close the first half of section play Monday when it hosts third-place Upper St. Clair.

“We need to improve every day, every game,” Oldaker said. “We can’t settle and be satisfied, so we are only focusing on the next practice, next game.”

Honorable mention:

Clara Paige Miller, Waynesburg

Waynesburg still is searching for its first Section 2-3A win this season, but the future is bright thanks to the play of Miller. The sophomore forward scored 28 and 21 points in section losses to Washington and McGuffey, respectively. In the Raiders nonsection win over Carmichaels, Miller led all scorers with 19 points.

Sierra Twigg, Frazier

As Frazier fights for a playoff spot in Section 3-2A, a little history was made this past week. Twigg, a senior, scored 20 points in a section win over Bentworth, scored a team-high 15 points in a loss to Monessen and 22 of her team’s 33 points in a win over California. In that game, Twigg became only the third Commodores player to reach the 1,000-pointmark in her career.

Alexis Robison, Rochester

Defending WPIAL Class A champion Rochester has plenty of weapons on offense, and they were on display in two more wins this past week. Junior Alexis Robison did a lot of damage as she scored 22 points, and sophomore teammate Corynne Hauser had a team high 23 in a double-overtime win over Vincentian Academy. Robison then had a game-high 21 points in a win at New Castle.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week Three – Alyssa Pollice, Bishop Canevin

Week Two – Jhayla Bray, McKeesport

Week One – Kennedie Montue, Plum

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