MT. LEBANON – Much has changed for the Chartiers-Houston girls basketball program this season.
After making it to the WPIAL finals each of the last two seasons, the Bucs had a new, revamped lineup with limited playoff experience in 2018-19.
All C-H coach Laura Montecalvo wanted from her young team in the Class AA first-round contest Friday evening at Mt. Lebanon High School was to compete.
They did that but came away with a 63-16 loss to No. 3 seed Laurel.
“We just told the girls to just compete tonight,” Montecalvo said. “We are extremely young with no returning starters coming back from last year’s playoff run. Everything we did this season was the first time this group did it. To make the playoffs was a huge accomplishment for us.”
The Bucs (8-15) scored the opening four points of the game with interior baskets by Dominique Mortimer and Gabby Pomfret, but the No. 14 seed couldn’t hold onto the lead for very long after the strong start.
Caroline Gibson scored 25 points for the Spartans (19-4) and her 3-pointer got the Section 1-AA champions on the board.
Laurel then responded with the next nine points before a three-pointer from Zamierah Edwards ended the scoring drought for C-H. The Spartans ended the opening quarter on a 7-0 run for a 22-7 lead.
After being outscored 14-2 in the second quarter, the Bucs trailed 36-9 at halftime.
“I think Laurel can go far in the playoffs,” Montecalvo said. “They play fantastic man-to-man defense. They run the drive-and-kick offense and they have the personnel to make the outside shots. They can all shoot. They are very disciplined and really well-prepared.”
Laurel, which will play South Side Beaver in the quarterfinals on Thursday, held a 27-7 scoring edge in the second half.
“Some of our players really grew up as the season progress,” Montecalvo said. “They had to play hard every play, and we really had to fight and scratch for every section win. I’m a proud of their effort all season long and this was definitely a right step in the right direction for us.”
Makenna Collins collected 10 points for Laurel and Faith Gibson added nine. Pomfret and Angie Stein each scored four points for the Bucs.