MOON TWP — Everything went according to plan — except the ball going in the bucket.
Seneca Valley missed scoring opportunities inside and at the foul line Tuesday night in dropping a 36-29 WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball playoff game to defending champion Bethel Park.
SV’s Erin Danik canned a layup with 7:05 to play, knotting the game at 25. It was the fifth time the score was tied, there were seven lead changes up until that point and neither team ever led by more than four points.
“The girls executed everything we wanted them to do,” Raiders coach Rob Lombardo said. “We were so close ... right there. That only makes the loss that much more painful.”
Bethel Park (17-5) used an 11-0 run after Danik’s bucket to open up a 36-25 lead and finally put the game away with 2:21 remaining. The Black Hawks hit five of their six field goal attempts in the fourth quarter after sinking just seven of 30 through the first three periods.
The Black Hawks average 53 points per game, but were held below 40 for the fourth time in their last six games.
“If someone would have told me before this game we’d only give up 36 points, I’d have bet we’d have won by 10,” Lombardo said. “We missed too many layups and free throws.
“I told the girls when it was tied after three quarters, we hadn’t even played our best basketball yet.”
Danik scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds coming off the bench and led the Raiders (10-13) in scoring. Meghan Hess had four steals and a pair of assists from her point guard position.
But SV sank but nine of 32 shots from the floor and were nine of 20 at the free throw line. The Raiders missed their first six free throws of the fourth period.
Bethel’s Harper Zimmer was the only player on either team to reach double figures, scoring 11 points. Freshman forward Justina Mascaro came off the bench to sink all eight of her free throw attempts, grab eight rebounds and get five steals. Zimmer and Elizabeth Neal had four steals each for Bethel.
SV had 22 turnovers to Bethel’s 21.
“We turned this into the type of game we wanted,” Lombardo said.
The Raiders say goodbye to seniors Katie BrownHannah Parey and Abbie Trzeciak. Trzeciak picked up two fouls in the first quarter and did not play the second. She had six points and three rebounds.