Struthers too tough for Sharon
By DAN POMPILI
The second game of the United Way Holiday Basketball Classic wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the first.
While Neshannock took Poland down to the wire in game one, the Struthers High girls basketball team easily handled Sharon in the second girls game.
The Wildcats’ balanced offense was too much for the Tigers right from the tip-off.
Sharon’s junior forward Tanayja Sanders fought for rebounds and baskets and enjoyed some help from sophomore guard Kristina Jacoway, who added nine points to Sanders’ 17. It just wasn’t enough.
The rest of the team could not find an answer to Struthers’ stern defense and made several mistakes trying.
Sharon turned the ball over frequently and fouled often, giving the Wildcats opportunities they didn’t need but were more than happy to capitalize on.
Led by junior guard Ashleigh Ryan, the Wildcats’ offense found the basket easily and often as they kept the Tigers off balance for the full 32 minutes, scoring with quick cuts to the hoop and multiple fast breaks.
Ryan hit a 3-pointer early in the first quarter to set the tone and another in the third to drive the point home. She finished with 16 on the night, aided by Brittaney Zupko, 12, Ashley Hefferon, eight, and McKenna Shives, seven.
Nine of the 10 wildcats who saw playing time scored at least one field goal, while Sharon had a hard time getting their players to contribute more than a spare free throw.
“I thought we did all right,” said Struthers coach John Grandy. “Sharon worked hard all game and I think we could have been more physical.”
Ryan spoke happily about her team’s performance and praised Sanders for her leadership on the other side.
“We found the open person on the floor and we moved the ball really well tonight and we played good defense,” she said. “Number 42 [Sanders] was really tough; she played us hard.”