Clutch Performance By Emilee Fedrizzi Leads Shenango to WPIAL Class-2A Title
PITTSBURGH — With the game tight late, Emilee Fedrizzi put the team on her back and led Shenango to a 44-34 win over Freedom in the WPIAL Class-2A championship on Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center. Fedrizzi scored six of the Wildcats’ 11 points in the final five minutes. She also delivered an assist to Kylee Rubin on Shenango’s 11-0 run to end the game. Freedom’s offense just collapsed down the stretch. The Bulldogs last basket of the game was Olivia Henderson’s three-pointer with 5:41 remaining.
“I feel like getting that steal and that basket in transition really got us motivated and got me pumped up. I feel like from there we just kind of took over and everything was going our way,” Fedrizzi said about her three straight baskets down the stretch.
Rubin led Shenango with 17 points while Fedrizzi and Janie Natale each had 13 points. Julia Mohrbacher led Freedom with 15 points. Mohrbacher fouled out late in the game, which could be attributed to Freedom going scoreless in the final 5:41.
“(Shenango) didn’t do anything different defensively,” Freedom head coach John Kaercher said about their offensive woes late. “They were playing their full-court man and then they dropped back to their 3-2 half-court trap. We moved the ball well, (but) we just didn’t get shots off. And what can you do at that point? The shots that we got off obviously didn’t go into the basket. … We wished some of those baskets went in, but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.”
After a back-and-forth first half, Freedom held a slight 23-22 lead over Shenango. Mohrbacher led Freedom with 10 points, while Shenango’s leading scorer was Natale with eight. Henderson made three triples in the first half. Freedom shot 8 of 20 from the field and were 3 of 6 from behind the arc. Shenango shot 6 of 17 from the field and were 3 of 10 on three-point attempts.
Freedom went on a 5-0 run to start the second half. The Bulldogs really held things down defensively as Shenango was held scoreless until the 3:20 mark of the third quarter. Rubin gave the Wildcats a spark by nailing a three-pointer to cut Freedom’s lead to 28-25 with 2:31 remaining in the third. Shenango tied the game up at 28-28 a few minutes later thanks to a basket by Natale. The Bulldogs ended up going into the fourth quarter with a one-point lead at 29-28. Freedom led by one point at the end of the first, second and third.
Henderson converted her fourth triple of the game at the 5:41 mark of the fourth quarter to give Freedom a 34-31 lead. Rubin answered with a layup down low to put the Wildcats within one. Following a free-throw by Rubin to tie the game, Emilee Fedrizzi made two clutch baskets to give Shenango a 38-34 lead with just over three minutes remaining. Fedrizzi’s first basket came on a layup in transition after a block and the second score was via a floater. Fedrizzi came up big once again with a layup after kniving her way through Freedom’s defense. Fedrizzi then delivered an assist to Rubin to give Shenango its largest lead of the game at 42-34, which they didn’t squander.
“Let’s be honest, Mohrbacher being out helps. She picked up her fifth foul,” Shenango head coach Ricci LaRocco said about the Wildcats’ defensive performance late in the game. “We got out of the trapping defense and went straight man. A couple of times they got bye and Kylee was down there to protect our hoop like she always does. I think once we smelled the blood, we kind of just attacked. If I had to guess those were are only points in transition all night. When we went on that 6-0 run.”