ä Hickory 62, Mercyhurst Prep 42 — At West Middlesex High School, the Hickory Hornets punched their ticket to the District 10 championship game with a 62-42 semifinal victory over the Lady Lakers of Mercyhurst Prep.
“It’s a great feeling to get to the championship game,” said Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “This is what we’ve been working towards. It’s a reflection of the hard work of these girls.”
Undefeated Hickory (24-0) led Mercyhurst 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, however they outscored the Lakers 18-3 in the second frame to take the reigns for the remainder of the game.
Leading the Hornets was YSU-recruit Nikki Arbanas with 20 points, including a 15 for 16 marksmanship from the free-throw line. Arbanas also had 5 steals and 4 assists.
Holly Grober tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, Megan Chess had a dozen points, and Nicole LaCava had 10 boards for Hickory.
“I thought we had total team effort from all five starters and some valuable minutes from girls off the bench,” Whitehead said. “Every second counts and that’s what I communicate to the girls, especially in a playoff game when we’re playing a good team like Mercyhurst Prep.”
Emily Stoicovy was the only player for the Lakers (18-6) to tally double digits, scoring 16 points including 3 treys. Erika Woll had 8 points on 2 threes, as well as a handful of steals.
Hickory plays the winner of Slippery Rock vs. Villa Maria in the title game on Saturday at a site and time TBA. Mercyhurst will meet Girard in the consolation game.
Note: Former Hickory standout Kelsey Trosch is now an assistant coach for the Lakers. “When they come through the program and they spread their wings and land places and they’re just flourishing, that’s an honor,” said Whitehead. “She’s a great kid. It’s a very special feeling for me.” — By Madeline Williams, Herald sports correspondent
ä Mercer 48, Girard 38 (OT) — When a sophomore scores 10 points in a playoff basketball game, that accomplishment will usually catch the attention of most interested parties.
But when all 10 of those points come in overtime, it not only catches people’s attention but it also sends a team into the District 10 championship game.
Wednesday night, Mercer sophomore Aubrie Angermeier fired in 10 of the Lady M’s’ 15 overtime points to help lift Mercer (18-5) to a 48-38 overtime win over Girard (18-6) in the District 10 Class AA semifinals at Fairview High School.
Mercer will now face Gen. McLane in Saturday’s District 10 title game. GM beat Seneca on Wednesday at Fairview High School.
“I honestly can’t put into words how proud I am of these girls,” Mercer head coach Aaron Cook said.
Girard took a 35-33 lead on the first possession of overtime when Samantha Dunn scored a layup. However, Mercer reclaimed the lead for good when Angermeier drilled a go-ahead three-pointer.
She then followed up by hitting six consecutive free throws to give Mercer an insurmountable 42-35 lead in the fifth period.
Angermeier, who did not score in 32 minutes of regulation, finished with 10 points.
“She stepped up at the foul line in overtime,” Cook said. “We kept telling her ‘They’re going to leave you open and you’re going to knock down a big three.’ And she did it for us.”
Girard led 30-28 late in the fourth quarter but sophomore guard Adelyn Cook drilled a three-pointer to put Mercer ahead. She then hit two free throws in the closing seconds that pushed the lead to 33-30.
Girard tied the game with 8.2 seconds left when Maria Welch converted three straight free throws. Mercer fouled Welch on a three-point attempt, allowing the 5-foot-11 junior to tie the game.
Welch came in averaging 13 points per game but Mercer held her to just two field goals and nine total points.
“Welch is long and lanky and we kind of shut her down,” Aaron Cook said.
Mercer charged out to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter when Lexie Arkwright recorded a three-point play and Adelyn Cook hit a pair of three-pointers.
Arkwright led all scorers with 19 points and Cook finished with 14 points, including four three-pointers.
Throughout the 2013-14 season, Mercer has coupled tenacious man-to-man defense with a variety of zone presses. Wednesday night, the Lady M’s unveiled an active 2-3 zone defense that kept Girard off balance.
“We saw on film that Sharpsville did a really good job against them with the zone,” Aaron Cook said. “I thought we could keep them off guard for a couple of quarters. When they hit a couple, we had to back to our man-to-man, which we did a pretty good job in.”
Girard rallied to take a 19-18 lead by halftime. Neither team led by more than three points in the third or fourth quarter.
“I saw it in their eyes. They weren’t going to let it slip away,” Aaron Cook said of his team, which won its ninth straight game overall.
Notes: Dunn and Lauren Davenport each added eight points for Girard. ... Megan McKinney added five points for Mercer, joining Angermeier, Arkwright and Adelyn Cook in the scoring column. ... The win also guarantees Mercer a berth in the state playoffs. — By Ryan Briggs, Herald sports correspondent.
ä Kennedy Catholic 45, Farrell 33 — At West Middlesex High, the game featured 54 turnovers and 25 percent shooting between the Region 1-A rivals.
After being swept in the home-and-home regular-season series, Farrell forged into an 18-all deadlock with 6:47 remaining in the 3rd quarter on Bria Gambill’s pair of free throws.
However Taylor Kress connected for 8 of her 11 points during the period to enable the Lady Golden Eagles to ease into the title tilt.
For the 2nd straight season, Kennedy Catholic (20-2) will meet Cochranton — a 51-37 winner over Rocky Grove — on Saturday at a site and time to be announced.
“We know we have Cochranton next, we know they’re a quality basketball team; we know if we play like we did (Wednesday) night we’re probably not gonna win that basketball game,” summarized 1st-year KC Head Coach Chris Mele.
“But in the D-10 playoffs, a win is a win, and we’ll go back to work (today) and we’ll prepare for Cochranton,” Mele continued. “We have a lot of film on them, the have a lot on us and we’ll give it our best shot.”
For KC, 6-foot-3 April Bocian brokered a 12-rebound, 8-blocked shots, 8-point line, while Kress contributed 11 points and Taylor Hood had a 9-point, 6-rebound, 2-assist line. Also, McKayla Fusco finished with 6 points and 4 assists.
For Farrell (8-16), Whitney Murray — in her scholastic swan song — posted a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double. She, Key-Asia Oatis, Gambill and Janee Avery are seniors for Lady Steelers’ skipper Eddie Turosky.
“We’re very excited, make no mistake about it,” Mele mused. “It’s a credit to these kids and the program, so we’re really lookin’ forward to (the D-10 championship game.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
DISTRICT 10 SEMIFINALS
MERCYHURST 8 3 9 22 42
HICKORY 10 18 21 13 62
MERCYHURST PREP — Stoicovy 5-3-4-16, Popoff 1-0-0-2, Woll 2-2-2-8, Corritore 0-1-2-1, Shopene 1-1-4-3, Steiner 1-0-0-3, Kinecki 2-1-3-5, Kubney 0-4-4-4. 3-pt. goals: Stoicovy 3, Woll 2, Steiner 1. Totals: 12-12-19-42.
HICKORY — Arbanas 2-15-16-20, Chess 4-2-4-12, Beader 1-0-2-3, LaCava 2-5-6-8, Ho. Grober 6-5-7-18. 3-pt. goals: Chess 2, Arbanas 1, Beader 1, Ho. Grober 1. Totals: 15-27-35-62.
MERCER 14 4 8 7 15 48
GIRARD 8 11 7 7 5 38
MERCER — Fisher 0-0-0-0, Cook 4-2-2-14, Edwards 0-0-0-0, Conner 0-0-0-0, Angermeier 1-7-8-10, Mills 0-0-1-0, McKinney 1-3-4-5, Glass 0-0-0-0, Arkwright 7-4-6-19, Gault 0-0-0-0. 3-point goals: Cook 4, Arkwright 1, Angermeier 1. Totals: 13-16-21-48.
GIRARD — Mascaro 0-0-0-0, Davenport 2-2-3-8, Byham 1-0-0-3, Bonnett 1-0-0-2, Bolt 2-0-1-4, Welch 2-4-5-9, Oas 1-1-2-4, Dunn 4-0-0-8. 3-point goals: Davenport 2, Byham 1, Welch 1, Oas 1. Totals: 13-7-11-38.
FARRELL 6 10 6 11 33
KENNEDY 12 6 14 13 45
FARRELL — Gambill 1-4-5-6, Smith 2-2-2-6, Murray 3-6-12-12, Oatis 1-1-2-3, Sharper 0-2-2-2, Page 1-0-0-2, Avery 0-2-4-2, Evans 0-0-0-0. Totals: 7-17-27-33
KENNEDY CATHOLIC — Hood 2-5-10-9, Kress 4-3-4-11, Bocian 4-0-2-8, Kish 2-1-2-7, O’Brien 0-0-0-0, Shannonhouse 0-0-0-0, Fusco 2-2-4-6, Zacherl 2-0-0-4, Burns 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Kish 2. Totals: 16-11-22-45.