Lady Warriors Extend Win Streak to 16 With Win Over Hempfield

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by Patrick McKay

The Penn Trafford Lady Warriors are the defending WPIAL Champions and their position at the top of rankings remains unquestioned.  They have won 16 straight games and are undefeated in Section 1-AAAA play.  Tonight they played host and defeated their rival, the Hempfield Lady Spartans, in a rematch of last year’s WPIAL title game, 53-43. Leaving little doubt that they are also the class of a tough section, they have now won five straight over the Lady Spartans.

Hempfield won the tip and scored the first basket of the game taking a 2-0 lead. From there PT senior Maria Palarino took over and that would be the last lead the Spartans would have.  Palarino hit a free throw, 2-point field goal and then a 3-pointer, completing the hat trick and scoring the Warriors first six points and never looking back.  The first quarter ended 13-6, PT.

While the Spartans would continue to battle back they would not get closer than a three-point deficit in the first half. Tough inside play by Warrior senior Katy Abreu who contributed six points in the first half and helped lead PT to a 23-16 half time lead.

Hempfield came out furious in the second half where senior Lexi Irwin posted 9 of her 11 points on the night. She would be the only Spartan in double digits.  Senior Leah Knizner and sophomore Michelle Burns contributed to the continuous rallies by Hempfield posting nine and eight points, respectively.

For the Warriors senior Casey Aunkst and freshman Kylie Grabowski each contributed eight points. Aunkst was all over the court, tallying steals and assists consistently.  Grabowski showed great athleticism and hustle at both ends of the court and showed why she is lone underclassmen in the starting line up amongst 4 seniors.  In the end Maria Palarino was just too much for the Spartans to handle as she was the game high scorer with 15 points on the night.  For her efforts she was named the Quad A Sports Network Player of the Game.

The top ranked Warriors improve to 17-1 overall and 9-0 in Section 1. Hempfield falls to 10-6 overall and 4-3 as the third place team in the section.