Sports Town will review the 2011-12 school year during July. Today we are visiting the girls basketball season.
Girls basketball had a very solid year with one WPIAL team (Seton-LaSalle) winning a state championship, and two others (Oakland Catholic and North Catholic) advancing to the state championship game in their respective brackets. Here's a look at a season that had some memorable moments to last a lifetime.
Class AAAA - In the East, Oakland Catholic (28-3) was the team synonymous with 2012 girls’ basketball. The Eagles motored their way through the regular season, winning the St. Pius X Tournament in Atlanta as well as Section 3-AAAA. Through the WPIAL playoffs, Oakland Catholic was unstoppable all the way up to the championship game. At that time, the Eagles lost 58-49 to Mt. Lebanon (25-4) at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Oakland Catholic’s season was far from over, however. The Eagles battled through the PIAA brackets to face Mt. Lebanon once again in the state quarterfinals. This time Oakland Catholic emerged victorious, ultimately advancing to the state championship game. The Eagles lost to District XII’s Archbishop Carroll 65-43.
Other Class AAAA East teams of note in 2012 were Penn Trafford (18-5), Kiski Area (16-7), Woodland Hills (11-12), Hempfield (20-4), Gateway (19-4), Plum (14-9), and Norwin (12-11). These teams all got first-round playoff matches, but Hempfield was the only one to advance. The Spartans lost to Upper St. Clair (15-13) in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
Oakland Catholic owed its 2012 success in part to players like Bobbi Baker, who scored 18 points in the Eagles PIAA semifinal win over Governor Mifflin.
Other Class AAAA East players who made significant scoring contributions included Gateway’s Destiny Brown. Brown finished the season averaging 24.3 points per game, and she signed with Baylor to play her college ball. Kiski Area’s Makenzie Zidek averaged 17.9 points per game in 2012, while her teammate Maddie Antone averaged 16.9. Plum’s Krista Pietropola also scored big in 2012, averaging 17.0 points per game. Desiree Garland recorded 16.1 points per game in 2012 for Woodland Hills.
Class AAA - Greensburg Salem (13-11) and Mt. Pleasant (17-6) led the East in Class AAA. The Golden Lions defeated Montour (9-14) in the WPIAL playoffs’ first round, but Greensburg Salem lost to South Park in the second. New Castle (13-10) defeated Mount Pleasant in the two teams’ WPIAL first round game.
Greensburg Salem’s Jayne Oberdorf averaged 16.0 points per game for the Golden Lions in 2012.
Class AA - The Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions (17-7) were among the best in East Class AA. They defeated an upstart Burrell (18-5) team to advance to the WPIAL quarterfinals. There, Greensburg Central Catholic lost to Keystone Oaks (20-8).
The Centurions’ progress did allow for a preliminary round berth in the PIAA tournament, but they did not advance. Tussey Mountain defeated Greensburg Central Catholic 60-59.
Jeannette (13-9) also had a good 2011 season. The Jayhawks were well known for being the team of WPIAL scoring leader Ciara Gregory. In Gregory’s 21 games, she scored 561 points for a 26.7 points-per-game average.
Jeannette, like Greensburg Central Catholic, represented East Class AA in the WPIAL playoffs. The Jayhawks were defeated by New Brighton (13-9) in the first round, however.
Class A - The spirited Riverview (16-9) team fought its way to the WPIAL semifinals before losing to North Catholic. The Raiders advanced as the No. 4-seed in the PIAA tournament, but did not advance past Kennedy Catholic in the first round.
Riverview made its 2012 progress on the shoulders of players like senior Mary Andrejko. Andrejko averaged 22.3 points per game over the 2012 season.
Lastly, Winchester Thurston (13-11) made its way to the WPIAL quarterfinals where it lost to eventual champion Vincentian (28-2). The Bears had made major progress in 2012 after experiencing a 4-15 season in 2011. Winchester Thurston was the No. 5-seed in the PIAA tournament. The Bears lost to District XI’s Keystone in the first round.