Knoch girls hold off Southmoreland and reach WPIAL title match for first time

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 9:44 p.m.


Knoch’s women’s basketball team reached the WPIAL semifinals last year for the first time in the program’s history, but lacked a win to reach the championship game and an opportunity to play. for gold.

But the Knights were not going to be deprived of their return to the Class 4A last four.

Senior Maddie Boyer scored a career-high 27 points and added 10 rebounds, and junior Nina Shaw had 15 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, as No. 3 Knoch beat No. 2 Southmoreland, 56- 45, Tuesday at Gateway High School.

“I still feel almost in disbelief,” said Boyer, who scored 14 of his 27 points in the second half, including his team’s nine points in the third quarter.

“I don’t know if I have words to say how excited I am and how excited the whole team is right now. We have worked so hard for this.

Knoch (21-2) will face the undefeated, No. 1 Blackhawk (23-0) for the title at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Petersen Events Center.

“I’m so happy for them that they have the experience of going to a championship game,” Knoch coach Chris Andreassi said.

“They did a lot of pioneering work as a group: the first time with 20 wins, the first section championship (in 50 years), the first (the Knoch team) to advance to the semi-finals (the ‘last year). In fact, as far as we know in 50 years, the Knoch girls have never made the playoffs more than two straight years, and now they’re in their fifth (straight year).

Blackhawk’s last loss was to Knoch in last year’s WPIAL Quarterfinals.

“We deserve this. We worked so hard,” said Shaw, who went 11 of 12 from the free throw line against the Scotties, including 7 of 8 in the fourth quarter.

“To finally get to (the league game) it’s so great. It was a big win for us, but now we keep pushing and preparing for Saturday. We’re not going to stop and celebrate this one.

Despite the loss, Southmoreland (18-4) is still alive in the playoffs.

The Scotties clinched a spot in the PIAA playoffs with their quarter-final win over Highlands.

They will wait to see if they are the No. 3 or No. 4 team in the WPIAL depending on the outcome of Saturday’s championship game under the WPIAL leader tracking format.

“It’s tough,” said Southmoreland manager Amber Cernuto, who guided her team to the WPIAL title match two years ago.

“That was one of our goals, to skip this game and get back to the Pete. The seniors were looking forward to it. They can think about it for 24 hours and then we’ll go back to the gym and prepare for the states. Our season “It’s not over yet, so we have to keep going. We have a lot more games to play. We have to regroup, learn from this, watch a movie, see what we were doing and focus on ourselves right now.

Knoch led 12-7 at the end of the first quarter and extended it to 27-10 with a 15-3 run to open the second.

The Knights forced six Scotties turnovers in the second quarter and Southmoreland junior guard Olivia Cernuto committed her third foul with 2:37 left before halftime.

But the Scotties got a pair of free throws from 6-foot junior forward Maddie Moore and a three-point play from senior forward Grace Spadaro to close the gap to 12 at halftime.

Southmoreland used a quick 7-2 run to open the second half and cut the lead to 30-22. The Scotties scored 10 points twice early in the fourth quarter, but Shaw, Boyer, sophomore Naturelle Ewing and the rest of the Knights didn’t let Southmoreland come close.

Shaw hit a pair of free throws and Boyer drained a 3-pointer to start a 13-2-all run but put the game on ice with three minutes left in the fourth.

Knoch junior Hattie McGraw scored her eight points in the first half, including six on a pair of 3-pointers.

“When we were in fifth and sixth grade, my dad (assistant coach Shane McGraw) said when we got to high school, we were going to Pete’s,” McGraw said. “Now to see this come true is great.”

Boyer added four 3-pointers, one in each quarter. She was also 7 of 9 from the foul line.

Spadaro scored 14 of his team’s best 19 points in the fourth quarter, and Cernuto and Moore each finished with nine points for the Scotties.

Michael Love is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Key words: Southmoreland

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