Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hopewell Girls Seek Payback

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hopewell Girls Seek Payback

Article excerpt

Those who pay attention to WPIAL basketball, both on the boys and girls side, usually have to wait until late February to see the kind of compelling matchups that come with the win-or-go-home reality of the playoffs.

That does not mean there are no must-see games in the two-plus months of the regular season, however, with this week's contest between the girls' basketball teams at Blackhawk and Hopewell proving as much.

The two teams, who are among the best in Class AAA, will take to the court at Blackhawk tonight. The Cougars (15-0, 7-0) hold a firm grip on first place in the Section 2 standings and are the Post- Gazette's top-ranked Class AAA team. Hopewell (15-2, 6-2), ranked No. 4, could add some spice to the section title race with a victory.

Central Valley (14-2, 6-2) is tied with Hopewell for second place after its loss to Ambridge Monday and still must play the other prime contenders once more in the regular season.

That makes this match even bigger for Hopewell.

"It's something that, if we have any aspirations of trying to repeat as section champions, it's a game that we have to win," Hopewell coach Jeff Homziak said.

It is the second meeting between the two teams this season, with Blackhawk winning the first in a closely contested 56-52 game. It was just one of two losses on the season for the Vikings and it helped pave the way for what the Cougars have been able to accomplish thus far -- an undefeated record more than halfway through the regular season.

Hopewell star forward Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led all scorers in that game with 32 points, something that helps highlight why "pretty much all" of Blackhawk coach Steve Lodovico's gameplan is based around stopping her.

"We just didn't have an answer for her," Lodovico said. "We have to make sure we're not letting her get to the rim and shooting layups on us, which is easier said than done. …

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