NEW CASTLE —
PLAYING A ROLE
Shelby Brown, a 5-7 senior guard, has taken her game to the next level in the PIAA playoffs for the Lady Warriors. In a 52-44 first-round victory over Everett, Brown notched 27 points. It was more of the same against North East with 25 in a 56-49 decision.
“She does a little bit of everything. She’s the engine that makes them go,” Ashaolu said. “That’s going to be a big focus of ours. That’s our number one thing on our board on how to attack them. We want to attack her offensively and play great defense. We want to force her to play defense up and down the court.”
Other players have stepped up offensively during Mohawk’s playoff run. Devon Giancola, a 5-8 senior guard, exploded for 13 points in the first half against Everett and has the ability to take a game over with her ability to shoot the 3-pointer. For the season, Giancola has tallied 37 total 3-pointers and 8.9 points a game.
“We try to get the kids to think about if they were to guard themselves, how would they play themselves? At this point, teams know who you are and are coming after your top players,” O’Lare said. “Devon is key because they’re going to try to take her off her game. She’s going to have to carry the burden of scoring.”
A key matchup in this game will be how Seton-La Salle will match up with 5-10 forward Paige Ruby. The senior notched 11 points against North East and could have had even more if she didn’t uncharacteristically miss 6 of 8 shots from the foul line. Ruby averages 9.3 points a contest this season and shoots 59 percent from the foul line.
“Most of the post girls we go up against are bigger (than Mohawk’s), but they don’t play like it,” Ashaolu said. “Mohawk may not have the tallest girls, but they play harder than those bigger players. They know their role on the team and play it perfectly. There’s nothing flashy. They do their job and they’re effective.”
The Lady Warriors have gotten solid offensive contributions from bench players Samantha Carr and Aliya Gage as of late.
Carr has recorded 12 total points in the team’s two state games. Though she may come off the bench, the 5-4 sophomore is tied for third on the team with 10 3-pointers.
“Sam’s been grinding it out all year,” O’Lare said. “With every game that’s progressed, she’s getting a minute here and a minute there. Now she’s really getting big minutes for us as an impact player.”
Gage, a 5-8 freshman guard, was out for more than a month with an illness. She made her impact felt by scoring two points and playing key minutes against North East.