NEW CASTLE —
Defense has been a staple for the Lady Warriors all season. The team has let up just 38.9 points a game heading into its 24th game this season.
“I’ve seen them playing zone and seen them playing man,” Joyce said. “You have to be prepared for either.”
It’s no secret that Mohawk will have to be on its game defensively if it wishes to stick with the Lady Crusaders. The Lady Warriors offense hasn’t shown the ability to put big scores on the board (45.5 points a game), while Bishop Canevin has no problems putting the ball in the basket, averaging 56 a game.
“We worked a lot at recognizing on the fly what defenses they’re going to be in and getting our people to the right spots offensively,” O’Lare said. “Sometimes, our offense turns the ball over in stretches and gives teams easy baskets. We can’t have one lapse. We have to play good defense and take care of the ball and score all night — not in two- or three-minute stretches.”
Keeping sure-shooting Mohawk off the line remains a focal point of Joyce’s team.
“Pretty much, we have to defend well and stay out of foul trouble and rebound,” he said. “We need to be able to execute our offense.”
A tough nonsection schedule has both teams battle-hardened for the stretch run. The Lady Crusaders have been tested by Section 4 champion Seton-La Salle and also by solid opponents outside of the district like Franklin and Villa Maria Academy to mixed results. The Lady Warriors held up against Class AAAA Seneca Valley and Class AAA Mars in efforts to ready itself for the final weeks.
“You have to play as many of those games that you can to be able to prepare yourself for teams like Bishop Canevin,” O’Lare said. “You can’t hide from them. When you get to the final eight teams, you can’t hide from anybody.”
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