The Mohawk High girls basketball team conquered an undefeated team Friday night.
The Lady Warriors led the whole way in capturing a 68-52 PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal-round home win over Punxsutawney.
“Being at home and having a good fan base here, I really thought that helped us get off to a good start,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said.
Mohawk (18-4) advances to meet Forest Hills (19-0) on Monday at a time and site to be determined in the semifinals.
“When you’re going to play to get to the state title game, you have to go super hard,” O’Lare said. “Everyone is good at this stage of the playoffs and a district champion. We have to get ready this weekend for Monday.”
Last year, Mohawk’s season was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic just prior to a state quarterfinal clash with Cambria Heights.
The Lady Chucks, the District 9 champs, end their season at 19-1.
The Lady Warriors raced out to a 19-11 lead after one quarter. Nadia Lape scored 10 of Mohawk’s points in the period. Lape finished with 21 points.
“She played well out of the gate to help us get going,” O’Lare said of Lape. “She was doing everything. Attacking the rim. Hitting some tough shots. Being aggressive.”
Mohawk pushed the margin to 38-16 at the break.
“Where we are right now in the season, when you get this deep, you have to be able to defend,” O’Lare said. “I just felt like to limit that team to 16 points in the first half, and they really shoot the ball well from the perimeter, it was big.
“Defensively, we didn’t give them rhythm shots. Our girls disrupted them in the first half. They took some tough shots and that led to some runouts.”
Punxsutawney made a little run early in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to threaten Mohawk’s lead. The Lady Warriors carried a 55-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Hannah McDanel netted 10 of her game-best 22 markers in the third quarter to help Mohawk maintain a commanding lead.
“Hannah did the same thing in the third quarter that Nadia did in the first quarter,” O’Lare said. “She was scoring different ways for us.”
Paige Julian chipped in with 13 points for the winners.
“It’s all about that balance,” O’Lare said. “Nadia had a really good offensive game.
“We need all three of them (Lape, McDanel and Julian) playing well. It’s nice to get 11 between Abby (Shoaff) and Jordan (Radzyminski). I can’t credit enough how well we defended, too. The girls really bought into that concept. I think that really helps how we start games.”
Shoaff scored seven points for Mohawk and Radzyminski added four.
Riley Tresloid netted 15 points for Punxsutawney.