By Pete Chiodo
Seneca and Saegertown squared off in quite the defensive battle in the girls championship game of the Sertoma Tip-off Tournament Saturday at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills. And in the end, Seneca’s ‘D’ was the stingiest in a 33-22 victory over the Lady Panthers.
“We struggle sometimes shooting the ball,” said Saegertown head coach Steve Scott. “And (Seneca), they had some good size. They play good team defense. We didn’t get too many good looks at the hoop.”
Neither team could get much going on offense in the first quarter. Seneca missed its first five shots before Amanda Sonney could ring up a put-back. Tori Eckart answered with a jumper for Saegertown (1-1), stopping an 0-for-5 shooting skid by the Panthers.
However, Seneca continued to hit shots throughout the first. Saegertown didn’t, finishing the frame 1-for-10, while the Bobcats went 4-for-14 to finish with 10 points. Katie Teed — who finished the day with 10 points and was named the tournament’s MVP — hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Bobcats in the period.
Yet, Saegertown battled back. And, again, it was defense making the difference. In fact, the Panthers’ most consistent form of offense last night involved Arianna Hanley picking off a Seneca pass and driving down to the other end for a lay-up.
She did that twice in a row to end the second quarter, making it a 14-8 game going into the break. She also had a transition bucket during Saegertown’s 6-2 scoring run to start the third, which cut the Bobcats’ lead to 16-14.
Hanley finished the game with eight steals and a team-high 13 points, including eight off the fast break. She and teammate Rachel DiBartolomeo, who was Saegertown’s second-leading scorer yesterday with four points, were both picked for the all-tournament team.
However, Saegertown couldn’t steal every Seneca possession. And Sonney had a big second half for the Bobcats, scoring 11 of her 15 points in the last two frames, giving her team a little more of a cushion.
Then Seneca’s defense held Saegertown to just one field goal (another steal-and-a-layup by Hanley) in the fourth quarter to win the last frame 10-4. (Saegertown also had a couple free throws in the period.)
“Our girls have been playing hard,” said Seneca head coach Steve Carter, whose team improves to 2-0. “It’s all new five starters this year. We didn’t really know what to expect these first two games. So I’m very pleased with the effort. Offensively, it may not have been pretty. But defensively, they did a great job of stopping the other team.”
Seneca’s Megan Fish, who scored six poinst yesterday, was also named to the all-tournament team.