The Greater Johnstown girls basketball team may be young age-wise, but they are gaining experience with every new challenge that they encounter.
The Trojans will face their next hurdle when they take on Huntingdon at 12:30 p.m. today at Mount Aloysius College in the District 6 Class AAA championship.
“The girls are very excited,” Johnstown coach Rich Price said. “They are enjoying every minute of being in the playoffs right now.”
Sixth-seeded Johnstown (11-13) edged Laurel Highlands rival Forest Hills, the third seed, 50-48, in the quarterfinals before downing No. 2 Westinghouse 63-51 in the semifinals. The top-seeded Bearcats (18-5) got by Ligonier Valley 38-34 in the semifinals.
“That win over Forest Hills was a real confidence booster for this team,” Price said. “But we also know that our young team is becoming accustomed to playoff-type situations. We are making better decisions and are learning to close out games by keeping our composure.”
Senior Shannon Henney topped Huntingdon’s scoring with 14 points while Bri Rivello added 11 in the win over the Rams.
“Huntingdon forces you to do what you don’t want to do, that’s what they did against Ligonier,” Price said. “They pressed Ligonier and forced them to turn over the ball and Ligonier just went cold shooting the ball.”
Price said his team wants to dictate the pace of the game and keep it up tempo, but knows that turnovers can be the downside of the quickness.
“We play at a pace that turnovers are going to occur,” Price said. “Fifteen is our magic number for turnovers in the game. We need to stay out ahead of them on defense.”
Offensively, the Trojans get 14.8 points per game from junior Tashayla Smith while sophomore Lexi Lindrose adds 13 a game. Sophomore Robyn Madison adds 6.1 points and junior Ikeiah Burns contributes six a game.
Smith is Johnstown’s leading rebounder with 13.7 a game while junior Janay Myers added 5.6 a game. Madison is the assists leader (2.7 a game) and Smith is the leader in steals (2.7).
“Our girls all know what their roles are,” Price said.
Both squads will advance to the PIAA Tournament next Saturday.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/CoryIsenbergTD.