Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No. 1 Avonworth Wary of Streaking Seton-Lasalle

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No. 1 Avonworth Wary of Streaking Seton-Lasalle

Article excerpt

Unbeaten Avonworth ignores the pressure of being the WPIAL Class AA No. 1 girls' basketball seed.

"I haven't talked about it with our players," coach Bob Schulz said. "Our team chemistry and how hard our kids play every night have been the keys to our season. That's what we focus on. Our kids have meshed together. They just want to win."

The Antelopes (25-0) are shooting for their first WPIAL title since winning three straight in Class A from 1992 through 1994.

Avonworth will play its most difficult opponent to date when it meets red-hot Seton-LaSalle (21-5) in the semifinals at 6:30 tonight at Chartiers Valley. Seton-LaSalle is riding an 11-game winning streak.

Seton-LaSalle won the Avonworth summer league seven months ago, not the Antelopes. Seton-LaSalle also defeated Avonworth in a non- section regular-season game last year.

"We saw how competitive they were going to be from the way they played in our summer league," Schulz said. "Even when they started out 3-3, I knew they were going to be there when it counts at the end. They're playing better team defense right now. We're going to have our work cut out for us in this one."

The Rebels have won 17 of their past 18 games. After a 48-47 loss at Sto-Rox, Seton ran off nine consecutive double-figure victories to close the regular season. They have added two playoff victories against South Allegheny, 45-41, and Riverview, 43-37.

All but one Avonworth game has been decided before the fourth quarter. Avonworth is outscoring foes by an average of 62-29. The only remotely competitive game was a 60-49 win at home against Class AAAA Penn-Trafford Dec. 29. Avonworth eliminated Carlynton, 53-38, from the WPIAL tournament in a quarterfinal game Saturday.

Schulz admits there is a concern about not playing a game that has gone down the wire. He put game-pressure situations on his team during recent practices.

"You wonder how the kids are going to handle a tight game," Schulz said. "We run situations in practice with the clock. Putting so much time on the clock, like being down by 14 points and they have to make up the deficit in eight minutes. Or we'll go down to a minute or 30 seconds left in a game and put them in situations where they have to hit that last shot to tie. …

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