CLARION — For a team without a senior on the roster, the Brookville Lady Raiders are surely not playing like it.
Well, sometimes they do but the positive far outweigh the negatives.
Friday night at Clarion High School, the Lady Raiders won their PIAA Class AAA playoff opener in a 53-46 win over District 10 runner-up Northwestern. It was their first state playoff win since 1985.
Yes, 33 years ago when head coach Mark Powell was in eighth grade when the Lady Raiders beat Conemaugh Valley, 45-36.
“This has been a special season, special run and the kids, and I can’t ask any more from them,” Powell said. “They’re playing as hard as they can. I thought tonight, it was the pressure, the rotating in and out of kids, and I thought we stayed pretty fresh. I thought that was a big part of the game.”
Next up for the now 19-5 Lady Raiders is WPIAL on Tuesday is runner-up East Allegheny, which routed District 6 fourth seed Central-Martinsburg 54-28. That game will be played at a site and time to be determined.
A quick 3-2 lead by the Wildcats early on was the only lead they had as Brookville led 23-20 by halftime and by as many as 11 points in the third quarter and its biggest lead at 13, 45-32, with 4:46 left in the game.
Northwestern rallied back into the game and as close as five in the final minute, but it couldn’t hit enough shots or hold on to the ball enough to complete comeback.
Brookville’s full-court, fast-paced style with its pressing defense frustrated Northwestern into a terrible night shooting at 26.2 percent (15-for-61) and a woeful 2-for-23 from the 3-point line. The Wildcats’ primary scorers in 1,100-point senior and Edinboro recruit senior Monica Brown was 4-for-17 from the floor with 13 points and 10 rebounds while sophomore Julia Weaver had 14 points on 4-for-20 shooting. The two were a combined 1-for-18 from the 3-point line.
Northwestern forced nine Lady Raiders turnovers in the fourth quarter to win that battle, 27-24, but it was Brookville appeared to fead more off the miscues.
Twin sophomore sisters Morgan and Madison Johnson led the Lady Raiders with 14 and 13 points respectively while Marcy Schindler scored nine points with 15 rebounds, six blocked shots and two steals. Kira Powell had six points and nine rebounds while Lauren Hergert came off the bench to produce five points and 11 rebounds.