The Neshannock High girls basketball team started slow Thursday night.

The Lady Lancers scored just 12 points in the first half and went to the locker room down 10 points.

Things shifted quickly in the second half.

Neshannock scored all 20 points of the third-quarter points to regroup and pull away for a 48-33 WPIAL Section 1-2A road win over Shenango.

The Lady Lancers (10-1 section, 13-1 overall) were down 15-3 late in the first quarter before settling for a 15-5 deficit after one period. The Lady Wildcats (5-5, 10-6) held a 22-12 halftime buffer.

“We didn’t start off well,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “We didn’t shoot it well and we didn’t pass it well in the first quarter.

“We played pretty even with them in the second quarter. For as bad as we shot it and as poorly as we played, to be down 10 wasn’t too bad; that’s a realistic number to come back from.”

Grybowski switched up the defensive attack at halftime and it paid off for Neshannock.

“We pressed like crazy,” Grybowski said of the third quarter. “Mostly half court, some man, some zone.

“It was the best quarter of basketball I’ve been involved in.”

The Lady Lancers blanked Shenango in the third quarter, 20-0, to claim the lead for good at 32-22 going to the fourth quarter.

“The kids just never quit,” Grybowski said of the comeback. “The goal was to cut it to five points after three quarters.

“I told them, ‘you have to work in the third quarter’. We did a great job in the third quarter. I never, ever, would have guessed we would go from down 10 to up 10. That has an affect on teams That was an epic comeback. It was a great game to coach and to be involved in.”

Neleh Nogay led the Lady Lancers with 18 points and Addi Watts was next with 17. Nogay recorded seven steals and four assists, while Watts contributed five steals and five boards.

Hunter Newman notched six points, six steals and five rebounds for the winners, while Megan Pallerino posted five markers, five steals and five boards.

Neshannock committed just five turnovers. The Lady Lancers were outrebounded, though, 33-17.

Janie Natale netted 15 points for the Lady Wildcats.

The win vaults Neshannock into sole possession of first place in the section standings with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart’s 29-21 loss to Sewickley Academy.

Neshannock closes out section play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday when it hosts the Lady Panthers (6-2, 9-4) in its section finale. A win would lock up the section crown outright for the Lady Lancers. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (10-2, 10-2) has wrapped up league play.

Blackhawk 72, New Castle 38

Aayanni Hudson scored 22 points for the Lady ‘Canes in a Section 2-4A road loss to the Lady Cougars.

New Castle (2-5, 4-5) dug a 29-11 hole after one quarter and couldn’t recover. The Lady ‘Canes were down 51-19 at the break.

“We started off slow,” New Castle coach Kara DiNardo-Joseph said. “We went up 2-0 and they came back flying down the court. Once they turned us over with the press, we lost mental focus for two quarters.

“They’re always coming at you. We know what they are going to do. We just have to push through. They got the best of us in the first half. But we have to be able to take care of the ball.”

Hudson added six rebounds. She scored nine of her points in the third quarter and eight more in the first frame.

Mia Graham was next with 11 markers and five assists for the Lady ‘Canes. Raegan Hudson grabbed six rebounds for New Castle.  

“It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth,” DiNardo-Joseph said of the loss. “The girls played hard. It hurts. We have to work on being consistent.”

Kassie Potts posted 21 points for Blackhawk (7-3, 9-4).

Rochester 57, Union 34

The Lady Scots started slow and couldn’t recover in dropping a Section 1-1A home decision to the Lady Rams.

Union (2-5, 6-8) trailed 14-2 after one quarter and 23-11 at the break.

Zoe Lepri netted team-highs of 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Scots. Elise Booker followed with eight markers.

Kendall Preuhs posted six rebounds and Gianna Trott snared four for the hosts.

Corynne Hauser led all scorers with 31 points for Rochester (7-0, 10-3).

Lakeview 55, Wilmington 30

The Lady Sailors outscored the host Lady Greyhounds 18-2 in the second quarter to grab control and pull away for a District 10, Region 4-3A victory.

Wilmington (1-7, 1-11) was down 11-7 after one quarter before Lakeview put the game away in the second period. The Lady Sailors held a 29-11 lead at the half.

“I thought we did a nice job in the first quarter,” Lady Greyhounds coach Mike Jeckavitch said. “We caught them off guard with a triangle-and-two defense in the first quarter.

“Our energy kind of fizzled a little bit in the second quarter. They got some looks around the rim and that opened up some looks from the outside in the second quarter.”

Renee Ealy netted 10 points for Wilmington and Madison Graham chipped in with seven tallies and six rebounds. Maelee Whiting and Jadyn Flick collected seven boards apiece for the hosts.

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Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at

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