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Fourth-quarter blues

Planets held scoreless over final 8 minutes in section loss
Mars’ Lauren Atwell (25) grabs a rebound while being defended by North Hills’ Jayden Arnett during Monday’s section girls basketball game. Mars let a 16-point lead slip away in a 51-45 loss to the Indians. Ralph LoVuolo/Special to the Eagle

ADAMS TWP — The fourth quarter of Friday’s game against North Hills gave Mars the chance to put the finishing touches on a ninth section victory of the season.

Instead, the Planets went cold. Ice cold.

The Planets did not score in the period, committing seven turnovers in the process, and watched the Indians celebrate a 51-45 victory on their home floor.

North Hills (7-13, 2-9) entered the game with just a single section win.

“We haven’t been a good shooting team all year,” said North Hills coach Tony Grenek. “Tonight was a matter of us getting hot and Mars going cold at the right time.”

The apex of the Planets’ lead came at 26-10 in the second quarter. The Indians chipped away and by the start of the fourth quarter, trailed the Planets 45-35.

North Hills took the lead for good when junior guard Olivia Waters hit two free throws for a 46-45 lead with 4:24 remaining.

Waters had converted a conventional 3-point play earlier in the rally.

“She’s our one all-conference player,” said Grenek of Waters, who scored a game-high 20 points. “I never take her out of the game unless she’s ready to fall over. She’s been our catalyst all year.”

Mars’ offense fell into a sea of turnovers and missed shots in the fourth. They misfired on all nine of their attempts from the field, including two layups.

For Planets’ coach Dana Petruska, their 35-point first half must have seemed like a distant memory.

“We had poor shot selection late in the game and the turnovers have concerned me all season,” she said. “We can’t change our lack of experience. We’re bringing players off the bench and they’re young. They’re trying hard, but just don’t have that physical aspect to their game yet.”

Seniors Annalynn Isaacs and Lauren Atwell spearheaded Mars’ effort when things were going well. Isaacs scored 15 points, all on treys, including four of them in the first half.

Atwell added 12 points.

North Hills’ win over New Castle last Thursday was the Indians’ first section victory in three seasons.

“We let a lot of things slip away earlier this season, but we kept grinding,” said Grenek. “This was a huge win for our program.”

Mars (14-5, 8-3) and Armstrong are now tied for the top spot in Section 2-5A. The Planets can clinch at least a share of the section crown with a win at New Castle on Thursday.


Gia Minton 1 1-3 3, Olivia Waters 7 5-7 20, Darby West 2 1-2 6, Mallory Pierce 1 0-0 2, Gie Sturdivant 3 5-7 11, Jayden Arnett 2 2-4 6, Taty Bermudez 1 0-2 3, Ava McElhaney 0 0-0 0, Sarah Thornton 0 0-0 0, Grace Zickefoos 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 14-25 51.


Vita Vargo 3 0-0 8, Alexis Cashdollar 1 2-2 4, Annalynn Isaacs 5 0-0 15, Lauren Atwell 6 0-1 12, Olivia Donnelly 2 0-0 4, Alexa McDole 1 0-0 2, Ava Day 0 0-0 0, Carmella McDole 0 0-0 0, Cecillia Christy 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 2-3 45.

North Hills 10 13 12 16 — 51

Mars 19 16 10 0 — 45

3-point goals: North Hills 3 (Waters, West, Bermudez); Mars 7 (Isaacs 5, Vargo 2).

Thursday: Mars at New Castle

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