Caroline Gibson

Laurel's Caroline Gibson shoots a 3-pointer during the third quarter of a WPIAL first round game against Chartiers-Houston last night at Mount Lebanon High School.

PITTSBURGH — The formula was simple for the Laurel High girls basketball team.

A strong start. Suffocating defense. And a stellar effort by senior Caroline Gibson.

It all added up to a 63-16 WPIAL Class 2A first-round playoff victory over Chartiers-Houston for the Lady Spartans at Mount Lebanon High School.

Gibson netted a game-best 25 points, to go along with five assists and four steals. She tossed in 18 of her points in the first quarter when Laurel raced out to a 22-7 lead.

“We just kept going back to her,” Lady Spartans coach Matt Stebbins said. “Tonight, she was the hot hand. You go to it until it stops. Team basketball, that’s what we need.”

Said Gibson, “I didn’t really think much. I was ready to come out and play. I was hitting shots. I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was in rhythm taking my shots.”

Laurel forced 34 turnovers by the Lady Buccaneers (8-15).

“We only gave up 16 points,” Stebbins said. “Even our subs gave great energy off the bench.

“By mid-second quarter, they were kind of jogging up and down the floor. It was a good win. That’s a very good program.”

Laurel (19-4) won its 13th straight game, which extends its school record. The 19 wins also tied a single-season program record as well.

“I think it’s just the team play,” Gibson said of Laurel’s play. “We’re in a groove and we all get along really well. We play as a team. We have to keep playing as a team and take it one game at a time.”

“I love this group,” Stebbins said. “They continue to work hard day in and day out. They know when it’s time to go to work.”

The Lady Spartans pushed the lead to 36-9 at the half. Chartiers-Houston turned the ball over 18 times in the first half.

“We were in every gap, in every passing lane,” Stebbins said of the defensive effort. “The girls did a nice job of sitting down and playing good defense. We didn’t reach. We did a great job of keeping our hands off of them.”

Makenna Collins chipped in with 10 points and four steals for Laurel. Faith Gibson, Caroline’s younger sister, added nine points and four steals.

Laurel returns to action Thursday at a time and site to be determined when it faces Section 1 rival South Side Beaver (15-8). The Lady Spartans swept the season series, winning 35-32 and 53-25. The Lady Rams advanced with a 52-41 victory over Riverview.

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com


CHARTIERS-HOUSTON (16)

Keely Acor 1 0-0 2, Gabby Myers-Pomfret  2 0-0 4, Angie Stein 2 0-0 4, Dominique Mortimer 1 0-0 2, Zamierah Edwards 1 0-0 3, Joline Tschanz 0 0-0 0, Maddie Gillo 0 1-2 1, Cate Hansberry 0 0-0 0, Angie Winters 0 0-0 0, Halie Winters 0 0-0 0. Totals: 7 1-2 16.

LAUREL (63)

Faith Gibson 4 0-0 9, Caroline Gibson 9 2-2 25, Lucia Lombardo 1 0-0 3, Katie Vasalani 2 0-0 6, Savannah Hinkle 1 0-0 2, Anna McGee 0 0-0 0, Grace Enscoe 0 0-0 0, Makenna Collins 4 1-2 10, Aaliyah Locke 0 0-0 0, Breagan Fedrizzi 1 0-0 2, Mikyla Slater 3 0-0 6. Totals: 25 3-4 63.

CHARTIERS-HOUSTON 7  2  2  5 — 16

LAUREL  22 14 14 13 — 63

3-point goals — Chartiers-Houston 1 (Edwards 1), Laurel 10 (C. Gibson 5, F. Gibson 1, Collins 1, Lombardo 1, Vasalani 2).

Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com.

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