Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rangers Prepare for Piaa Debut Fort Cherry Regroups after Wpial Semi Defeat

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rangers Prepare for Piaa Debut Fort Cherry Regroups after Wpial Semi Defeat

Article excerpt

A few tears may have been shed in the locker room after Fort Cherry fell to favored Greensburg Central Catholic, 50-38, in the WPIAL Class AA girls' semifinals Wednesday at Gateway.

Coach Bob Miles, however, was still beaming about his team's unprecedented accomplishments to date.

"I'm very proud of the girls," Miles said. "Even the kids who are on the bench, they all work hard in practice and try to help. Of course, the kids on the floor, they're just competitors, so I'm really proud of what they've accomplished so far."

This has been a milestone season for the Rangers (22-5). They set a school record for victories in a season and are section champs for the first time, sharing the 5-AA crown with perennial power Washington. They also qualified for the PIAA tournament for the first time after winning WPIAL games vs. Center, 48-28, and Beaver Falls, 42-28.

Against GCC, Fort Cherry appeared to be in good shape midway through the third quarter after Natalie Engel's basket gave the Rangers a 24-22 lead.

Fort Cherry went cold for the next eight minutes while the Centurions, who shot poorly in the first half, began to find their offensive rhythm. Maggie Gibson, a 6-foot-1 center, scored eight points during a 16-2 Centurions run that gave them an insurmountable 38-26 lead with about four minutes left. Gibson had only two points in the first half, but finished with 17.

"We got out of whack [defensively]," Miles said. "They started with that give-and-go and hit the post to get a couple of back-door [layups] on us. We weren't cutting off the baseline. That's something that we'll look at and make an adjustment on during practice.

"We knew [Gibson] was big, aggressive and strong on the glass, and when she gets the ball, she likes to take it to the hoop. We're just disappointed we gave up the baseline and allowed the penetration. We talked for two days about stopping their penetration, but in the third quarter, they were able to get the ball in and kept dishing it off for two points. …

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