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Lady Warriors move to 2A second round

Everett’s Maxwell, Hicks combine for 41 points

JOHNSTOWN — Everett began its PIAA Class 2A opening-round game with Serra Catholic missing its first four shots, turning the ball over twice, having two shots blocked inside and giving up two easy buckets inside on defense.

The Lady Warriors were in need of a response.

The answer Everett got came not from star Kaitlyn Maxwell, but rather from senior Madison Hicks, who scored three straight hoops to kickstart her team.

The Hicks’ hoops allowed the Lady Warriors to find their groove as both the offense and defense settled in and controlled the game from that point on in a 51-43 victory over the Lady Eagles on Friday night at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Sportscenter.

“That’s what seniors do at this time of year,” Everett coach Keith Moyer said of Hicks. “She’s going to have to carry us into the next round. We’re going to have a really tough opponent, and she’s going to have to play well if we’re going to continue to win … I’ve said it so many times, she’s a rebounding machine, and for her size, she can play with pretty much anybody.”

Everett improved to 22-3 and moved into Tuesday’s matchup with Bishop Canevin. Meanwhile, Serra Catholic ended its season at 20-7.

“We had a better start than they (Everett) did, but we didn’t do anything with it,” Serra Catholic coach Bill Cleary said. “We had some turnovers, we missed some layups. They are a solid defensive team, but we did get our share of good looks at that basket.”

Maxwell eventually got going as she led all scorers with 23 points, while Hicks posted a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

“Maddy Hicks and Kaitlyn Maxwell were just tremendous tonight. It was quite a performance for those guys,” Moyer said. “Our supporting cast did what they needed to do.”

After the Lady Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead on a layup from Rayna Andrews, who tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds, and a backdoor layup from Emma Nilson, the Lady Warriors’ Kristen Ewing got a putback at 3:45 to put her team on the board.

Gabby Bulger came up with a steal on the next Serra possession, and she found Hicks behind the defense for a layup.

“We made some subs and went to our bench,” Cleary said. “They weren’t ready to go in and play. They just got caught flat-footed.”

Maxwell grabbed a rebound off an Eagles miss, and once again Hicks found herself outracing Serra Catholic down the floor for a layup at the 3-minute mark that put her team up for good at 6-4. Her next bucket came off an inbound feed — prompting Cleary to call a timeout at 2:21.

“It was emotional last game in the District 5 championship as it was the first one we’ve won since I’ve been on the team,” Hicks said. “So, I’ve been working really hard because I don’t want this season to end.”

The Everett lead reached as many as 14 (24-10) when Brooke Colledge drilled a 3-pointer with 4:51 to play in the second quarter.

“We weren’t ourselves tonight. We were a little sluggish (at the start),” Moyer said. “We didn’t have the energy that we usually have, and I’m not sure why. I guess the first round of the state playoffs can sometimes get to kids. We settled in after the first three or four minutes of the game.”

Leading by seven (40-33) to begin the final stanza, the Lady Warriors allowed Serra Catholic to climb back within four (42-38) when the offense turned the ball over on three straight chances to begin the quarter.

Andrews scored off her own putback at 6:01 to make the score 42-38 after her free throw was good on the and-1 attempt.

Maxwell completed a back-to-back and-1 possession of her own to quickly push the lead back to 47-38 with 1:51 remaining on her 6-foot pull-up and foul shot.

A trey from Andrews with 35 seconds to go pulled the Lady Eagles to within six (49-43), but rather than go for the quick steal and foul, Cleary elected to play it out.

“No. 10 (Andrews) was a little better than we thought she was,” Moyer said. “She hurt us a little bit tonight.”

Rian Watson eventually came up with the steal with 21 ticks to go, but she forced the issue in transition and got called for an offense foul — her fifth of the evening.

Maxwell knocked down a pair of free throws with 14.5 showing on the clock to set the final.

While Hicks and Maxwell stood front and center with the duo also going 8-for-11 and 8-for-10 from the free throw line, respectively, they were far from the only Lady Warriors who made big plays.

In addition to the earlier 3-ponter, Colledge, a senior, made good on another shot from deep just after Serra Catholic closed the lead to five points (36-31) with 2:08 left in the third quarter.

Ewing did a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball to help her team maintain the lead, Elizabeth Jay pulled down seven rebounds and Bulger got deflections and loose balls to aid her team.

“Our kids know their role and they play it well,” Moyer said. “… It was a whole team effort. Just because you don’t score doesn’t mean you do not play well. I thought our kids played well tonight.”

Gigi Mele-Madigan was the only other Lady Eagle to hit double-figures as she scored 11, including seven in the third.

“I was really impressed with the way my kids played. My kids battled the rest of the night and cut it to four — we were right there,” Cleary said.

SERRA CATHOLIC (43): Mele-madigan 4 2-4 11, Andrews 7 1-3 16, Pawlowski 1 0-0 3, Nilson 1 0-0 2, Pordash 1 0-0 2, Navarro 1 0-0 2, Pasternak 1 2-2 5, Watson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 5-9 43.

EVERETT (51): Jay 1 0-0 2, Colledge 2 0-0 6, Ewing 1 0-0 2, Hicks 5 8-11 18, Maxwell 7 8-10 23, Bulger 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 16-21 51.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Serra Catholic 8 9 16 10 — 43

Everett 15 13 12 11 — 51

3-point field goals: Serra Catholic 4 (Mele-madigan 1, Andrews 1, Pawlowski 1, Pasternak 1); Everett 3 (Colledge 2, Maxwell 1).

Records: Serra Catholic (20-7); Everett (22-3).

Officials: Joe Scialabba, Brian Jaymes, Denny Detwiler.

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