Yough girls impress with rout of Charleroi

Monday, January 30, 2023 | 9:44 PM

Yough is chasing its first WPIAL playoff berth in more than a decade.

The way the Cougars played Monday night, they might get more.

“We want the section title,” junior forward Autumn Matthews said. “This is the best we have played all year. Hopefully it helps us get into the playoffs and get a good seed.”

Using precise passing and ball movement against Charleroi’s zone, host Yough put together a strong second half and rolled to its fourth straight victory, 54-38, in a Section 4-3A girls basketball game.

Yough (10-8, 5-2) has won 6 of 8 and has double-digit wins for the first time since 2009-10, the last season it made the WPIAL playoffs.

“We’re big, so we know we’re going to see a zone,” Yough coach Mike Gerdich said.

“It’s imperative that we move the ball and get good shots. We shared the ball beautifully tonight.”

On senior night, senior Laney Gerdich had 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, sophomore Hailey Bock added 16 points and Matthews scored 12 for Yough in its highest scoring output of the season.

Its previous high was 49 against Steel Valley.

Senior Mikalah Chewning added six points for Yough.

Charleroi, which has lost five straight, fell to 8-8 and 3-4. The team has been competing with just six players.

Yough moved a step closer to clinching its first playoff berth in 13 years by defining team basketball.

The Cougars remain tied with South Park (9-10, 5-2) a game behind first-place Waynesburg (15-2, 6-1).

Charleroi didn’t get more than five points in a row, was limited to six points in the third and was outscored 30-17 in the second half.

“Defensively, we played well,” Mike Gerdich said. “DeUnger murdered us last time, so we tried to limit her. We did a nice job defending and on the boards.”

Charleroi guard McKenna DeUnger had 30 points when Charleroi beat Yough earlier in the season, 57-46.

This time, she went for half of the Cougars’ points (19), including all 11 of her team’s points in the fourth.

“Our gameplan was lock-down defense,” Matthews said. “The rest just kind of went from there.”

Yough led 16-9 after the first quarter before Charleroi pushed back and cut the deficit to 24-21 at the break.

Yough had a 12-2 run early and put together a 12-3 surge to open the second half and take a 36-24 lead.

Charleroi’s only offense was a pair of 3-pointers from DeUnger, who has more than 900 career points.

Matthews scored inside, and Gerdich, who had 24 against the Cougars earlier, hit a soft jumper to make it 42-27 heading to the fourth.

DeUnger had the first five points of the final frame, but Gerdich put back a missed free throw and Bock scored twice from inside the paint to push it to 54-36 with 1 minute, 21 seconds to go.

Yough relied on half-court offense against the zone, passing to open spots with very little dribbling.

The Cougars didn’t make a 3-pointer but didn’t shoot many.

“We’re at our best when we’re passing and sharing the ball and scoring equally,” Matthews said.

Rece Eddy added nine points for Charleroi.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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