Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Girls get hoops victory over Stroudsburg

Thursday, January 17, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

A second half surge powered the Whitehall girls basketball team to a double-digit win over visiting Stroudsburg, strengthening their hopes for a run that will put them into the postseason.

The two teams went into the intermission knotted at 13-13. But once the second half got underway, the Zephyrs rode the dynamic end-to-end play of Grace Clary who scored the bulk of her game-high 20 points in the final two quarters to lead them to the 39-28 victory over the Mountaineers.

The win came against a Mountaineers team who were 10-2 heading into the game. Head coach Josh Madas said that is was a win that they needed. It helped show them what they could accomplish as a cohesive unit.

“It wasn’t even about that we needed it for advancing in districts or anything like that; I think for the first time all year we played together and we played complete basketball,” said Madas. “It was so great to see that on the floor because every game this year when we looked back, we had something to regret.”

The Zephyrs have had to fight through stretches where baskets have been hard to come by, and Madas said that sometimes doubt creeps in from a coaching standpoint regarding the designs he’s made.

But this win affirmed that they’re heading in the right direction, prompting some dancing in the locker room, according to Madas.

“This meant something more than just a W, this meant that we actually proved to ourselves that we could do it,” said Madas.

During a stretch in the third quarter, Clary grabbed the rebound and dribbled the length of the floor, forcing the defense to foul. She did this on consecutive possessions midway thorough the third period, ending up at the foul line where she wound up going 10-for-15 from the charity stripe.

She was also deadly from outside, her three-pointer at the 2:58 mark of the third, laying the groundwork for Whitehall’s run that would lead to the 11-point win.

In addition to her points, she was good on the offensive boards as well as the defensive end, making sure that Emily Strunk (6-2) didn’t have her way inside for the Lady Mounties.

“She’s a very special player,” said Madas. “She actually stepped up in more ways than just her scoring tonight.

“Usually we can rely on her for a good 10-15 points, but some of the other things she did, handling the ball, handling the press and crashing the boards, all those things, she just did a phenomenal job for us.”

Madas said that he talked with her before the game asking if she was ready. He said that Clary responded affirmatively, saying that she was going to have a good game tonight.

“She was just focused, you could tell,” said Madas.

With the lead at 19-17 after Clary’s trey, the Zephyrs never relinquished the lead, earning their fourth win of the season. It also positions them better in the district playoff hunt as they topple a team that sits above them in the D-11 6A power rankings. The Zephyrs are currently in the 10th position among the 15 teams vying for the eight postseason spots.

Olivia Hines also played well inside for the Zephyrs. She fought for rebounds all evening, and chipped in with three points. Ella Laky had some crucial buckets as well, connecting on two three-pointers to finish with eight points. Additionally, Cassie Due dropped in three points, while Taryn Sayre and Joey Shaul each added two.