The impressive 2012-13 season came to an end on Saturday for coach Jeanette Whitehead and her Hickory Lady Hornets (21-5) as they suffered a 71-44 loss to South Park in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
It was the 2nd straight year that South Park ousted Hickory in the 1st round of the state playoffs.
South Park led 17-9 after the opening quarter and 39-20 at halftime. The Lady Eagles (24-2), who are coached by Reggie Wells, extended their lead to 58-34 after 3 quarters of play and rolled into the 2nd round of the PIAA playoffs.
Allison McGrath led the way for South Park by scoring 22 points while Shelby Lindsay scored 20 and Halie Torris fired in 5 treys en route to 19 points.
Nikki Arbanas drained 5 treys and finished with 22 points to lead Hickory while Holly Grober bucketed 13.
Grober and Arbanas are both juniors. Grober will enter her senior season next year with 1,095 career points. Whitehead finished her 17th season as head coach of the Lady Hornets with a 253-164 record.
“Two big reasons for my sadness to close out the season is us losing Abby Zreliak and Julia White,” said Whitehead. “They are just two great seniors and we’re going to miss them dearly.”
Hickory qualified for the PIAAs after beating Mercyhurst Prep (50-43) in the District 10 consolation game after beating Warren (58-43) in the D-10 quarterfinals and falling to powerhouse Villa Maria (49-37) in the semifinals.
Hickory’s other 3 losses this season came against D-10 Class AAA champion Franklin (twice) and to Canfield, Ohio, which is playing in the OHSAA Div. IV regionals in the Buckeye State.
South Park beat Hickory 46-35 last season to oust them from the state playoffs.
Saturday’s win was the 11th straight for the WPIAL Class AAA champions. They beat Elizabeth Forward (50-32) for the District 7 crown.
South Park’s only losses have come against Pflugerville, Texas (72-51) — 12th in the country, according to USA Today — in the KSA Holiday Tourney in Orlando in late December, and to Hopewell (49-34) on Jan. 19 at the Pittsburgh Classic at Ambridge High.
Pflugerville recently lost in the Texas Class 5-A semifinals to Steele (69-60), who went on to lose the state championship game to Duncanville.
PIAA CLASS AAA PLAYOFFS
HICKORY 9 11 14 10 44
SOUTH PARK 17 22 19 13 71
HICKORY — Placzek 0-1-4-1, Arbanas 8-1-1-22, Chess 2-0-0-4, Moore 0-1-2-1, Shephard 0-0-0-0, Beader 1-0-0-3, White 0-0-0-0, Grober 4-5-6-13, Bible 0-0-0-0, Gustas 0-0-0-0. 3-point goals: Arbanas 5, Beader 1. Totals: 15-8-13-44.
SOUTH PARK — Noss 1-0-0-2, Quinn 2-1-2-5, Torris 7-0-0-19, Smith 0-0-0-0, Lindsay 9-2-2-20, Raymond 0-0-0-0, McGrath 8-5-5-22, Miller 0-0-0-0, Clydesdale 0-0-0-0, Jones 1-0-0-3, Petrosky 0-0-0-0. 3-point goals: Torris 5, McGrath 1, Jones 1. Totals: 28-8-9-71.