Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
By: Don Rebel
Sunday, January 6, 2019 | 3:21 PM
It has been a see-saw season for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. After losing their first two games to Class 5A and 4A heavyweights Trinity and Blackhawk, the Chargers won four straight, including three section victories.
OLSH split two games in the Keystone Oaks tournament to close 2018.
This past week, the Chargers improved to 4-0 in Section 1 with a 49-39 win at Laurel on Thursday. Then, in a nonsection game Saturday, OLSH knocked Washington from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 56-41 win at the Chuckie Mahoney Classic.
“The Laurel game was a good road win since they are a highly regarded Double-A team,” veteran coach Don Eckele said. “Defensively, we stepped up and made key stops at pivotal times in the game and responded with key baskets to stop Laurel runs. Our younger players are learning that defensive play can be the difference in winning a game.”
Washington was 9-0 coming into Saturday’s game, but being familiar with their former section foe helped the Chargers.
“It was a matter of handling the pressure Wash High applied,” Eckerle said. “Our experienced players did a good job of breaking the press. We had a good defensive effort forcing Wash High out of their offense sets.”
OLSH trailed 36-34 but responded with a 17-2 run in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to take control.
Leading the way in the quarter with 12 points was Ashley Norling. The Pitt-Johnstown recruit had 25 points for the game, two days after scoring 26 points in the win at Laurel.
Norling missed the first three games of the season because of an ankle injury but has been the team’s leading scorer and rebounder since her return.
“She is a difficult matchup because she can score both inside and outside as well as being a good passer with court vision,” Eckerle said.
Maddie Hoff is averaging 14 points and is an improved rebounder, and three-year starter Haley Hamilton is the team’s playmaker, Eckerle said.
“She has developed into a good shooter to go along with her driving ability,” he said.
Eckerle likes what he sees from his “coachable” group, and while many see the Chargers as one of the favorites, he is not ready to put that bull’s-eye on their back just yet.
“(Class) 2A basketball is a tough classification with a couple handfuls of really good teams, and we are in a section battle with several of those teams,” he said. “At this point, we’re focused on learning how to win games with this group.
“It’s still early but there is a big upside for this group. Let just say, we’re in the hunt.”
Don Rebel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TheDonRebel.