Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Whitehall girls pick up win

Monday, January 7, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Whitehall girls basketball team unwrapped an early gift to themselves, earning their first win of the season against Wyomissing just three days before Christmas.

They defeated the Spartans 37-33 to notch that first victory. Balanced scoring was the key as six players hit the stat sheet, with Olivia Hines leading the way with 11 points.

It was a welcome development for a team that’s been in a lot of close games. Of their seven losses, four have been by six points or less.

Head coach Josh Madas said that they were trailing at halftime against the Spartans, but they remained confident as they prepared to take the court for the remaining two quarters. He said it was a matter of making some adjustments, and they rallied to outscore the visiting team by seven points the rest of the way.

A key to that comeback was the play of Hines in the paint. Madas said she scored eight of her team-high 11 points in that final frame.

“That was a huge difference maker for us,” said Madas.

Madas said that Hines and Grace Clary, who netted six points, play big roles in their offense. They often serve as the catalysts for the team.

“Our offense goes through our post players,” said Madas.

He said that the second half also saw them benefit from good possessions which allowed them to get the lead. Some of those came from the shooting of Taryn Sayre who finished with eight points. They also got good production from Brianna Smith who chipped in with six points, while Katie Kelly and Ella Laky each added three.

Madas said that they were determined not to falter in the second half. It was another hill to climb entering the final two quarters, but they stayed aggressive throughout the rest of the game.

“They just came out in that second half really determined,” said Madas. “A lot of credit to them to them for their hard work in that game.”

Digging out of a first half hole has become a common theme this season. Madas said it’s become their biggest stumbling block over their first eight games. He said that once they settle into a rhythm and get into a good offensive flow and figure things out, they’re able to close the gap. However, in a number of games the climb has been too steep and they eventually run out of gas.

He said that was the case against Minersville last week, losing 61-53. He said that were down at the break and eventually pulled within three, but they couldn’t get over the hump and fell to the Battlin’ Miners for their eighth loss of the year.

The loss came on the heels of a tough game against Pottsville in the opening round of the Pottsville Gatorade Tournament. They lost to the Crimson Tide, 36-31 as Clary paced the team with nine points.

Madas said that preventing themselves from getting into those holes is something they’ll continue to work on as the season progresses. It’s all a part of their maturation process.

“We’re growing as a team,” said Madas.