Photo info: Brooke Hinderliter scored 18 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs. (Photo by Mike Schnelle/Apex Imaging)
By Jonathan Hooke
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The Redbank Valley Lady Bulldogs led by two at halftime but Carlynton proved to be too strong in the second half as the Cougars won 45-33 Friday night at Plum High School in the first round of the Girls’ PIAA Class AA playoffs.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs trailed 32-29 but two key members of Redbank Valley got into foul trouble and later fouled out. The Lady Bulldogs kept it close and cut the lead to 34-31 with just under seven minutes left but Redbank Valley would make just one more shot the rest of the way.
“I was very happy with the first half,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Amy Twigg. “At that point we were playing smarter and we weren’t getting the foul calls that we got in the second half. We were rebounding really well in the first half. I think in the second half we finally ran out of gas. We stopped doing the things that we were doing that worked in the first half. We didn’t rebound as well, we didn’t take as good care of the ball, and then we got into foul trouble.”
Becca Dougherty, who finished with eight points and five rebounds, fouled out with just under five minutes to go. A minute later, the Cougars led 38-31 and Brooke Hinderliter picked up her fifth foul and exited the game before Carlynton pulled away for the 12-point win.
“If Becca (Dougherty) and Brooke (Hinderliter) had not gotten into foul trouble, we might have seen a different ending,” said Twigg.
Hinderliter finished with a double-double and led Redbank Valley with 18 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, and three assists but shot only 6-for-24 from the floor. Kaelyn Gruver finished with only two points but added 10 big rebounds to account for second-chance opportunities, while Cassie Fink added three points.
Duquesne recruit Connor Richardson led the Cougars with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists. She scored 10 of her 14 in the first half but she controlled the offense down the stretch. The Cougars made 11 of their 14 foul shots in the fourth quarter with only one field goal.
“She does what she has to do,” said Carlynton head coach Tim Bonner of Richardson. “If she has to score, she scores. If she has to distribute the ball, she will distribute the ball. She does what she has to do for us to win.”
Jordan Melko added 10 points and four rebounds for Carlynton while Abigail Greiner scored six points, all in the second half, after not playing in the first.
Carlynton (20-6) advances to Tuesday’s second round against fellow WPIAL member Chartiers-Houston.
Despite the circumstances, Bonner was pleased with his team’s overall performance. Carlyton’s Abigail Greiner didn’t play in the first half due to an injured ankle she suffered in practice.
“To be honest, what hurt us was our big (Abigail) Greiner,” said Bonner. “We had a scrimmage Tuesday and she twisted her ankle really, really bad and she couldn’t play. As matter of fact, we weren’t going to play her and that’s what happened in the first half. Because they are big and strong, you know, they play hard. We couldn’t get any second shots. We put her in for the second half and the dynamics of the game changed.”
On facing Richardson, Twigg thought that Hinderliter really enjoyed the battle she had to face all night. “That was good for. She did well with it. Sometimes when tough players like that play, it brings out the best in them. But unfortunately she got into foul trouble.”
Redbank Valley took a 6-3 lead at the end of a slow first quarter where the Lady Bulldogs held Carlynton to just 1-for-13 from the floor but only made two field goals themselves.
In the second quarter, the Cougars came out on fire and went on a 12-0 run to take a 15-6 lead midway through the quarter. But the Lady Bulldogs answered with a 13-0 run of their own to take a four-point lead, 19-15. Carlynton made a late basket and trailed 19-17 at the half.
The Bulldogs did a good job of controlling the glass with 32 rebounds and outrebounded Carlynton by 12 but the 22 turnovers plagued the Lady Bulldog offense.
Redbank Valley’s strong season with a record of 18-8 comes to a close but Twigg considers it a very successful season.
“Yeah, I am very proud of the girls,” said Twigg. “They have been through a lot. They have had so many different coaches over the years. They work hard and I’m proud of the teamwork that they displayed. They get along on and off the court and I’m very proud of that.”
CARLYNTON 45, REDBANK VALLEY 33
Score By Quarters
RBV 6 13 10 4 33
Carlynton 3 14 15 13 45
Redbank Valley – 33
Brooke Hinderliter 6-24 5-5 18, Becca Dougherty 4-13 0-0 8, Cassie Fink 1-1 1-1 3, Megan Bain 1-8 0-0 2, Kaelyn Gruver 1-3 0-1 2, Cambria Hornberger 0-0 0-0 0, Macy King 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-47 6-7 32.
Carlynton – 45
Connor Richardson 4-12 5-8 14, Jordan Melko 3-6 4-5 10, Lexi Kowal 3-8 1-4 7, Ashleigh Wilson 0-10 6-6 6, Abigail Greiner 2-4 2-2 6, Lexus Woods 1-3 0-0 2, Britney Kowal 0-0 0-0 0, Giona Darenkamp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-43 18-25 45
3-pointers: Carlynton: 1-12 (Richardson 1-5, Wilson 0-6, Melko 0-1), Redbank Valley: 1-8 (Hinderliter 1-3, Rain 0-1, Dougherty 0-3, Landers 0-1. Rebounds: Redbank Valley 32 (Hinderliter 10, Gruver 10), Carlynton 20 (Richardson 5). Turnovers: Redbank Valley 22, Carlynton 15