When you think of scoring threats from the Mohawk High girls basketball team, Nadia Lape and Karly McCutcheon are the obvious choices.
But in her own quiet way, Paige Julian is just as much of a difference-maker for the WPIAL Class 3A champion Lady Warriors.
The 5-foot-7 junior guard has been on fire in recent weeks as Mohawk captured the District 7 title and began its quest of a PIAA crown.
On Friday, in a 66-42 victory over United at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House, Julian scored a game-high 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the PIAA playoff opener.
That followed up performances of a career-high 33 points and seven rebounds in a WPIAL semifinals win over Carlynton and 11 points and five rebounds in a WPIAL championship game victory over Beaver the week previous.
“The last three weeks, she has just had one excellent game on top of another,” Lady Warriors coach Mike O’Lare said. “As the games have gotten bigger, Paige’s confidence has really gone up.
“Confidence can take you way down or way up and in Paige’s case, it has gone way up.”
Lape leads the Lady Warriors (23-3) at 18.7, followed by McCutcheon at 17.5 ppg., Julian at 12.4 ppg. and Hannah McDanel at 9.8 ppg.
Julian, a daughter of Paul and Missy Julian, also averages 7.8 rebounds per game.
“You can’t key on Nadia and Karly and forget about Paige because she can score, too,” O’Lare said.
Perhaps her biggest contribution, though, according to O’Lare, is on defense, where she has taken an incredible 50 charges this season.
“That is an eye-popping stat,” he said. “Paige protects our rim and never leaves her feet.”
“You have to figure, if you take 50 charges, then about 25 were blocks. For a lot of referees, it’s hard to call three blocks in a row, so once someone gets two in a row, I usually tell them to back off a bit. But it makes the other team’s guards, especially, a little hesitant to drive after the first one.”
O’Lare says that Julian is the whole package.
“She can hit the three, she handles the ball really well and we can put her on he block and post her up,” he said. “When she gets a rebound, the next thing you know we’re at halfcourt.
“Whenever she’s on the court, it creates an immediate advantage for us,” O’Lare added. “A lot of teams have to put two scorers on her because she’s so hard to stop.
“She’s actually a very quiet girl, but she is just the type of person who can make a huge impact on the court.”