Lear provides spark for Lady Lions
By Jon Fleck
For the Mirror
Altoona’s Shaina Lear only made one shot against Mount Lebanon, but it proved to be the one that sparked the Lady Lions.
Leading by just three midway through the third quarter, Altoona quickly moved the ball in, out and all the way around the perimeter, creating an open shot for Lear.
The 6-foot senior drained the 3-pointer to start a 12-0 run and help the Lady Lions knock off Mount Lebanon 44-36 Thursday at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
“Our ball movement was very strong and poised in the third quarter. We were moving it quite well,” Altoona coach Miriam Colledge said. “Shaina Lear has been sacrificing for this team all year. She could have more points, but she makes the extra pass, makes the correct read. She’s been doing it all year. She’s our unsung hero.”
Olivia Hudson followed with a pair of buckets, and Elizah Wilson putback a Bridgid Fox miss to give the Lady Lions a 33-21 lead by quarters’ end. Fox pushed the Altoona advantage to 15 with a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
“We came out in the third quarter knowing we had to step it up to get the win. We knew we could count on all our players to move the ball around, and Shaina hit a big shot for us,” Hudson said.
Hudson finished with a game-high 19 points, most of which came from taking the ball strong to the rim.
“We didn’t have an answer for some of their takes. They had some pretty good takes to the hoop. They also hit some nice outside 3s,” ML coach Dori Oldaker said.
Four different Lady Lions knocked down five 3-pointers. Kayley Burke made two while Lear, Hudson and Fox each had one.
Fox grabbed 19 rebounds going up against the Lady Blue Devils two tall forwards.
“Bridgid Fox was a beast on the boards. They have two tall girls, and our girls knew they had to be exceptional on the boards. She was up to the task,” Colledge said. “Controlling the boards was huge. It made it hard for them to get in a rhythm. That’s the power of rebounding and getting that first stop.”
After Mount Lebanon opened up an early 9-5 lead, Altoona scored four straight points to get even by the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Lions started the second with a 13-3 run for a 10-point lead. Hudson’s 3-pointer off a pass from Lear at the 4:12 mark put Altoona ahead 22-12.
“The pass Shaina made driving into the paint, reverse pivoting and hitting Livy in the corner for the 3-ball was just beautiful basketball,” Colledge said.
The Lady Devils answered with the final five points of the half to cut the Altoona edge in half by the break.
Altoona improves to 17-3. Mount Lebanon falls to 10-11. Alyssa Hyland led Mount Lebanon with 14 points. She accounted for all of the team’s nine first quarter points.
“You figure they beat us by 30 early in the season. That shows how much we’ve improved this season,” Oldaker said.
MOUNT LEBANON (36): Kogan 2 1-4 7, Hyland 6 1-2 14, Wilhelm 0 0-0 0, Napoleon 1 0-0 2, Sabol 3 0-0 6, Palmer 0 0-0 0, Kaper 3 1-2 7, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals — 15 3-8 36.
ALTOONA (44): Lear 1 0-0 3, Stevens 0 0-0 0, Hudson 9 0-0 19, Burke 3 0-0 8, Fox 3 0-2 7, Wilson 3 1-1 7, Corbin 0 0-0 0, Cherry 0 0-0 0, Webber 0 0-0 0, Rupert 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 1-3 44.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mount Lebanon 9 8 4 15 — 36
Altoona 9 13 11 11 — 44
3-point goals: Mount Lebanon 3 (Kogan 2, Hyland); Altoona 5 (Lear, Hudson, Burke 2, Fox).
Records: Mount Lebanon (10-11); Altoona (17-3).
JV: Mount Lebanon 52-26. High scorers–Kaper (ML) 14; Cherry (A) 8.