Mohawk High girls basketball standout Paige Julian helped keep her team atop the WPIAL Section 1-3A standings last week.
Julian turned in three strong performances as the Lady Warriors capped a 3-0 overall week last week. Mohawk is 4-0 in the WPIAL Section 1-3A standings and 9-1 overall.
The Lady Warriors rallied for a 62-51 road win over Laurel, before rolling past Ellwood City Lincoln (72-43) and Rochester (60-40).
Julian, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, scored 54 total points in the three games. She will continue her academic and basketball career at West Liberty.
For her efforts, Julian was named the Lawrence County Athlete of the Week, as voted on by the New Castle News sports staff.
“She’s worked extremely hard her whole career, especially the last couple of seasons at being a better ballhandler,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said. “We’re really excited about her opportunity here. She’s become a leader.
“She can do so many things offensively and defensively and she’s very tough to stop.”
The Lady Warriors trailed 40-35 going to the fourth quarter of the matchup against the Lady Spartans (3-1, 7-1) in a battle of teams vying for the top spot in the section. Julian stepped up in the clutch and helped guide her team to the win.
Julian scored 12 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter against Laurel — Mohawk scored 27 total in the period. She also was 10 for 10 from the free-throw line in the quarter and 13 of 15 from the charity stripe for the game.
“As far as being aggressive and wanting to handle the basketball, several of those free throws happened as they were trying to foul (to stop the clock),” O’Lare said. “We were trying to get the ball to Paige or Nadia (Lape).
“Paige has come a long way to getting to want the ball in her hands in key spots.”
Julian, a daughter of Paul and Missy Julian, entered this week’s action averaging 20.2 points per game (182 total in nine games) and 7.8 rebounds. She is 55 of 71 from the free-throw line and 9 of 32 from behind the arc.
“One of the main improvements of her game is the ability to shoot the ball and wanting to shoot the ball,” O’Lare said. “She’s an attack-the-basket kid.
“She’s as good as anyone at getting the rebound and pushing it up the floor. She has the ability to step out and shoot the ball from the perimeter. I think she works on her foul shooting quite a bit.”
Defense also is a strength of Julian’s. Last year, she took 52 charges. Last week, she took a charge against Laurel, three against Ellwood City and another against Rochester.
“That’s incredible. Nobody can touch that number,” O’Lare said of last year’s 52 charges. “I’ve never heard anything close to it.
“Her defense is incredible. I’ve never had anyone or seen anyone like her. She’s 5-8 and she can protect the rim. She’s on pace for that same number of charges this year. She can get kids to react differently when they attack her. I’ve never seen anyone that is able to anticipate and take the hit like she can. She’s just so good at playing in the middle of our defense.”
Kiera Julian, a freshman guard and sister of Paige, also is seeing time in the Mohawk lineup.