Farrell girls beaten by defending state champs
The careers of Dierica Blackwell, Jessica Robinson, Jessica Clayton and Alissa Williams are over.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
BUTLER, Pa. -- Although no team wants its season to end with a loss, that possibility became reality Wednesday night for the Farrell High girls basketball team.
Despite playing hard for the entire 32 minutes, the Steelerettes came out on the short end, 64-51, to defending PIAA state champion Serra Catholic in the second round of the Class A state playoffs.
"I think we got a little rattled at times, but I think more than anything else, we didn't keep it close when we missed a couple of easy shots early in the game and we missed a lot of free throws," said Farrell coach Ed Turosky.
"I think we lost our composure and as a result, we didn't run some of the things we were supposed to run. But when you are starting a young team, those things are going to happen because they are kids and they are going to make mistakes."
The Steelerettes (19-7) got out fast in the first few minutes of the game to take a 5-2 lead, but for the rest of the opening period, Serra (25-4) outscored Farrell 15-3 margin to lead by 17-8 at the end of the quarter.
Although the Eagles stretched their lead to 33-16 at halftime, Farrell refused to roll over as it cut the deficit back to single digits, 35-27, midway through the third period.
"I think that [the comeback] shows the character of our program," said Turosky. "The kids believe they can win even when they are down 17 points. We actually won the quarter by one [point], but we let them stretch their lead when they went on an 8-0 run. We just didn't have enough to hold them off."
Feeling the pressure after Farrell took away in the inside game of Staci Menzies (with four lay-ups), Bria Gwosden turned it up from the outside as she hit four 3s and a 2-pointer down the stretch to help Serra to pull away.
"You have to take some chances when you are playing a great team like that," said Turosky. "We threw a triangle at them because we knew we had to throw a bunch of stuff at them. But that is what the role players [like Gwosden] have to do. If she doesn't make those shots, who knows, we might have won the game. But the fact is she was able to hit them and they pulled away."
Despite the loss, Turosky likes where his program is.
"Let's not forget they are the defending state champions," he said. "Most of those girls have been on the floor in games bigger than this one, they are well-coached and they do a lot of good things. We have made a lot of strides the past four years [a 73-34 record] and we are going to get to that point. These kids now know what it takes to be a champion and we are going to make a run at it again."
Gwosden led all scorers with 19 points, one more than teammate Brittany Matta.
For Farrell, Tieshia Stubbs led with 16 points, while Chloe Stewart added 12 and Dierica Blackwell 11.
The loss marked the end of the careers of Blackwell, Jessica Robinson, Jessica Clayton and Alissa Williams for Farrell.
"Those four kids have set a standard for our program," said Turosky. "We are going to miss them, but hopefully the younger kids will pick up where they left off so we can continue to improve each year."