New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Rebounding was a problem spot at times for the Neshannock High girls basketball team this season.
It will be an area the Lady Lancers will need to improve on in their preliminary-round matchup at 6:30 p.m. Friday against West Shamokin at Highlands High School.
Neshannock (11-11) was outrebounded in its last regular season game, 46-29, in a one-point loss to Wilmington. It was symbolic of the success the Lady Lancers’ opponents had on the glass at times.
“We preach boxing out so much that when they do box out it’s so pretty, but they don’t release and go get the ball,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “It’s not an effort thing.”
The Lady Wolves (12-10) average 33 rebounds a game, led by Jill Glover. Glover, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, paces the team in rebounds (9.7) and scoring (18.3).
“If we don’t box out, we’ll be in trouble,” Grybowski said. “Glover really plays help defense; they are very help conscious as a team and they play a lot of man and 2-3 zone.
“Glover is strong in the post and they use her well. She shoots the 3; she’s always moving. She’s pretty agile.”
Glover is West Shamokin’s main source for offense. She has scored 403 points.
Kelly Clowser, a 5-5 junior point guard, is next at 137 points (6.2 ppg.) for West Shamokin.
“Clowser is decent. She handles the ball well,” Grybowski said. “I didn’t see much shooting for her from the outside.
“Everything they run runs through Glover. That’s where they look to get the ball.”
Tristan Cribbs, a 5-6 junior forward, is next in rebounding at six a game.
The Lady Wolves, who finished fourth in Section 1, average 41 points a game and allow 40.5.
“They really don’t look to push it offensively,” Grybowski said. “They pound it inside because they play Glover everywhere. She does more than just stay in the paint.
“Defensively, they’ll play man and some 2-3 zone. We have to keep them to 35 or 40 points and we absolutely have to rebound.”
Madison McHale, a 5-8 sophomore guard, leads the Lady Lancers’ offense at 16.4 points a game.
“McHale is very impressive,” McCullough said. “She takes the ball to the hole as well as I’ve seen.
“She’s fearless going to the basket. When you’re averaging 16 points a game or so like she’s doing, it shows a lot of offensive skills.”
McHale ranks second in the county in scoring and first in the area in foul shooting at 87.2 percent (82 of 94).
“She gets to the line a good bit and she shoots very well from the foul line. We have to make sure we don’t get into silly foul trouble; I want to keep her off the line.”
Alexandra Fischer, a 5-11 junior guard/forward, is next for Neshannock at 8.3 points a contest.
“She seems to be a glue girl for Neshannock; she can get it done inside and outside and she handles the ball well,” McCullough said. “She’s a good defender.
“We have our work cut out for us. Fischer is a nice complement for McHale.”
Tayler Grybowski, the coach’s daughter, is averaging 8.3 markers a contest for the Lady Lancers. Tayler is a 5-10 sophomore guard/forward.
“You can tell she’s a coach’s daughter. She plays with a lot of confidence and intelligence,” McCullough said. “She seems to be pretty long with her arms.
“She’s going to be a tough defensive player; she’s another glue girl. She’s a nice piece to the puzzle for them.”
Neshannock has scored four points more than its opponents all year —1,038 compared to 1,034.
“They can play uptempo or slow it down. They’re very balanced,” McCullough said. “They seem to be a little more offensive oriented and they play real hard defensively.
“We can’t fall asleep on them getting up and down the floor.”
This is Neshannock’s first postseason trip since 2011 and the first since 2010 for the Lady Wolves, their only postseason berth prior to this season. Last year, West Shamokin was 1-21 and 3-18 in the 2010-2011 campaign.
“I don’t think there will be nerves for us,” Luann Grybowski said. “We’ll be as prepared as we can be and go from there.
“This experience is only going to benefit them down the road. There’s nothing to be nervous about.”
Despite it being the program’s first visit to the postseason since 2010, West Shamokin does have some players with playoff experience. Elderton High closed after last season and Glover and teammate Kelsey Altman (5-10, junior, forward) moved on to West Shamokin. Elderton was in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs a season ago, falling in a preliminary-round contest to Avonworth.
“The biggest shot in the arm for us is we got one of the best girls in double-A,” McCullough said of Glover and the team’s turnaround. “The improvement and hard work of all the other players on the team has really paid off, too.”
The victor earns the No. 15 seed and advances to face second-seeded Bishop Canevin (18-4) in the first round Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.