NEW CASTLE —
Averaging 46 points a game, Mohawk doesn’t have the potential to score as much as the Lady Rebels on a given night. As a result, O’Lare knows his team will have to play strong defensively. The Lady Warriors have allowed 40.2 points a game this season.
“We don’t want to turn it into a shootout and control the tempo as much as we can. We do want to control the possessions and make sure the game is in the 50s.
“I think their offense is the byproduct of their defense. A lot of people might look at their 70 points a game as offensive skill. A lot of it is coming off their defense causing turnovers and getting easy baskets.”
Ashaolu doesn’t know what to expect from a Mohawk team that likes to switch up its defensive looks.
“I’ve seen zone, but I’ve also seen man. I haven’t seen them press too much, but I do see a couple different presses from them,” Ashaolu said. “They like to run a 3-2 zone or man against some teams. We’re preparing for everything because we don’t know how they’re going to come at us.”
ODDS AND ENDS
The game being at New Castle High comes as a relief to O’Lare.
“After traveling like we’ve traveled the last couple games, it’ll be nice to get a two-minute bus ride,” he said. “It’ll be nice to rest and not worry about the travel.”
With the close location, O’Lare also anticipates a large contingency of Mohawk fans.
“We hope the fans turn out (tonight). If we’re going to have more people show up, the expectation is higher. We have to play well and play as hard as we possibly can.”
By losing to Bishop Canevin in the WPIAL championship 56-47, the Lady Rebels failed to live up to the results of last year’s team. However, Ashaolu believes his team isn’t in line for another disappointment.
“I think with the success we’ve had the past couple years, there are high standards. Our team has a really good season and gotten better,” he said. “Everybody has gotten better over the course of the year. We stress in practice individual development throughout the year. We’ve learned to play better and read the defense. I think our basketball IQ has gotten a bit better.”
The winner moves on to the state semifinals and will meet the survivor of the Bishop Canevin-Burrell contest Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.