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Knoch senior’s career-high 28 points leads Knights into state playoffs

Fuller Shines
Knoch's Adah Fuller drives toward the net during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

JEFFERSON TWP — Knoch girls basketball coach Shane McGraw already knew that Adah Fuller was an indispensable member of the team, but he was still impressed with her performance Monday night.

The senior forward scored a career-high 28 points to pace the Knights to a 60-40 victory over Central Valley in a WPIAL Class 4A consolation game at Knoch High School.

“She’s the kind of kid who’s the first to show up to the gym and the last to leave,” McGraw said of Fuller. “She’s the ultimate teammate and she was awesome tonight.”

A loss would have ended Knoch’s season and the high school careers of the team’s four seniors, including Fuller.

“I have to admit, I was dealing with some nerves before this one,” she said. “But to know that we are going to states, it’s huge.”

Fuller was just one free throw shy of a trio of conventional 3-point plays in the second half. She scored five points in Knoch’s 13-0 run that ended the competitive aspect of the game, pushing the Knights’ advantage to 57-35 with 2:30 left in the game.

The Warriors (12-12) had trailed by double digits the entire second half until Isabella Miller started hitting treys. One cut Knoch’s lead to 41-32 with 5:52 left. Her next one got the deficit back to nine points, 44-35, with 5:20 remaining. Miller’s nine points in the game led Central Valley.

“We knew coming in that she can hit the outside shot,” said McGraw. “It’s a bit disappointing that we lost her, but we have a resilient group and they answered with that run.”

Knoch (15-10) had control early on. Fuller netted nine of her points in the first quarter and had 16 by halftime. Meanwhile, the Warriors were struggling getting the ball past midcourt. They turned the ball over 21 times in the first half alone against Knoch’s pressure.

“We were confident we could make them uncomfortable right from the start,” Fuller said. “Defense is what we focus most on in practice and we’re intense. It’s hard for other teams to handle.”

Central Valley had just four field goals in the opening half. Its first make of the second quarter came from Kylie Godshall with 3:10 left before halftime, cutting Knoch’s lead to 21-8.

Karlee Buterbaugh added 16 points in the victory.

Knoch will face a very familiar opponent in Thursday’s battle for fifth place — section foe Highlands. The loser will enter the state tournament as the WPIAL’s sixth-place team.

Highlands won both meetings against Knoch in the regular season.

CENTRAL VALLEY 40

Maddie Spirnak 1 0-0 2, Kylie Godshall 3 0-0 6, Isabella Miller 3 0-0 9, Dominique Douglas 2 0-0 6, Nyah Hayes 2 2-4 7, Lily Seese 1 0-0 2, Ahley Bible 2 0-0 4, Caroline Spirnak 1 0-0 2, Madison McIlroy 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 2-4 40.

KNOCH 60

Adah Fuller 11 5-6 28, Neah Ewing 3 0-0 9, Karlee Buterbaugh 6 4-6 16, Naturelle Ewing 0 2-4 2, Lauren Bowser 1 0-0 3, Olyvian Foster 0 2-2 2, Abigail Hawk 0 0-0 0, Aubrey Spencer 0 0-0 0, Savanna Hawk 0 0-0 0, Jada Burgard 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 13-18 60.

Central Valley 6 4 14 16 — 40

Knoch 13 12 14 21 — 60

3-point goals: Central Valley 6 (Miller 3, Douglas 2, Hayes); Knoch 5 (Ne.Ewing 3, Fuller, Bowser).

Thursday: Knoch vs. Highlands, WPIAL Class 4A fifth-place game, TBA

Knoch's Naturelle Ewing drives the ball down the court during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Naturelle Ewing tries to hang on to the ball during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Adah Fuller (left) and Naturelle Ewing look for a turnover during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Karlee Buterbaugh drives during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Karlee Buterbaugh attempts a shot during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Naturelle Ewing passes the ball during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Neah Ewing attempts to reach the basket during the WPIAL girls basketball consolation game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Knoch's Aubrey Spencer passes the ball during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Adah Fuller scores during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Aubrey Spencer passes the ball during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Karlee Buterbaugh wrestles Central Valley for the ball during the PIAA girls basketball game at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Adah Fuller runs the ball down the court during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Naturelle Ewing drives the ball the down the court during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Adah Fuller looks to pass the ball during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)
Knoch's Adah Fuller attempts to reach the net during the PIAA girls basketball game against Central Valley at Knoch High School on Monday, Feb. 26. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/26/2024)

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