Lady Mustangs top BC to reach district final

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Bishop Carroll Catholic girls basketball coach Crystal Horton knows the Portage girls basketball team is more than just 6-foot-1 star center Olivia McCabe.

“We know they have the big three,” Horton said of McCabe, Emily Chobany and Lexi Wozniak. “We just didn’t know she was going to go off like that.”

‘She’ was Wozniak, the 5-foot-4 sophomore guard who nailed five 3-pointers during the second quarter Tuesday night to propel the Lady Mustangs to a 61-33 win over the Lady Huskies in the District 6 Class A semifinals at Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School. Wozniak finished with 19 points and has her team back in the districts finals again against Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic.

“We were in that 2-3 zone trying to contest shots, but she was finding the open gap. She was on fire,” Horton said.

Portage, the No. 1 seed at 23-1, jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first quarter, thanks to four points from McCabe. However, freshman Britt Krug got Carroll back into it, scoring five of her 12 points in the quarter. An Ellie Yahner layup at the buzzer tied it for the Huskies at 9-9.

“We pretty much thought they would sit in that zone and we were just hoping our shots would fall,” Portage coach Lance Hudak said. “We missed our first three and started thinking not again [like against Homer-Center in last week’s playoff-opening win]. But then they started falling.”

The shots were really falling for Wozniak in the second quarter as she blistered the Carroll perimeter defense with 3-pointers from all around the arc. Krug scored for Carroll at the 3:00 mark to cut the lead to 19-16. When halftime arrived, it was 29-16. Besides Wozniak’s 15 points, Portage also got five from McCabe in the quarter.

“She is one of the top 3-point shooters in the state. She had something like 57 3-pointers coming into this game,” Hudak said. “If you are going to sit back in a 2-3 zone and let her shoot, she will make them all night long.”

Portage extended its lead with two starters – Emily Chobany and Paisley Zatek – on the bench for most of the first half with foul trouble. When Chobany did play in the third quarter, she helped extend the lead. The senior scored seven of her 12 points in the quarter as Portage pulled away, despite McCabe getting her third foul in that quarter and Zatek getting foul No. 4 at the same time.

The Lady Mustangs were able to get quality minutes ouf of Kaitlin Jubina, Abby Chobany and Kacie Baker off the bench to keep Portage up by double digits the entire third quarter.

“They were calling it pretty close, but we play ourselves into foul trouble because of our intensity and how aggressive we are with our press,” Hudak said. “We have been playing a 9-man rotation all year long. We have confidence in our kids.”

Carroll was down, 49-25, heading into the fourth quarter where the Lady Mustangs were more deliberate on offense. Chobany scored five points in the quarter while McCabe scored three of her 15 points. Krug, the freshman who scored 10 in the first half for Carroll, was held to two in the second half.

“Our coaching staff prepared these kids. We had a good scouting report. We knew No. 3 (Krug) was their leading scorer, so you try to play a step closer to her,” Hudak said. “We really felt our press, baseline to baseline, would affect them. We are not the biggest team around but we will run you all night long.”

Of the eight girls Carroll played, three are seniors, Haley Krug, Brooke Mento and Janelle Gueguen. Only one is a starter.

“We feel very good about our team. They worked hard, but we got down to fast [tonight]. We did not knock down enough shots,” Horton said.

Portage will play BG Friday night at St. Francis. The Lady Mustangs fell to the Lady Marauders in the finals last year at St. Francis. Carroll will play Claysburg-Kimmel, which lost to BG in the other semifinal game, in the consolation game either Thursday or Friday.

BISHOP CARROLL (33): B. Krug 3 5-8 12, Farabaugh 2 0-0 4, H. Krug 1 0-0 2, Mento 0 0-0 0, Gueguen 0 1-2 1, Link 2 0-0 4, Sammarco 2 2-2 6, Yahner 2 0-0 4. Totals: 12 8-12 33.

PORTAGE (61): O. McCabe 6 3-4 15, Nolan 2 2-4 8, K. Jubina 1 0-0 2, Wozniak 7 0-0 19, E. Chobany 3 6-8 12, A. Chobany 0 0-0 0, Zatek 2 0-0 5, Baker 0 0-0 0, Barton 0 0-0 0, L. McCabe 0 0-0 0, Crum 0 0-2 0, Caurvina 0 0-0 0. 21 11-16 61.


Bishop Carroll9 7 9 8 – 33

Portage9 20 20 12 – 61

3-point field goals: Bishop Carroll 1 (B. Krug). Portage 8 (Wozniak 5, Nolan 2, Zatek).

Records: Bishop Carroll (11-11), Portage (23-1)

Officials: Dan Gels, Jeff Fisher, Tracy Cornelius.