If there is one word that can best describe the basketball seasons for both the boys’ and girls’ teams at Otto-Eldred, it would be historic.
Returning home for another doubleheader in front of a deafening crowd, this time to open the PIAA playoffs, both teams prevailed as the boys picked up their first state playoff win in school history and the girls raced to a dominant win after a defensive start to the game.
The girls, coming off their first D9 Championship in school history, opened the afternoon at 3 p.m. against Monessen, the fifth-place finisher out of District 7 and overcame a slow first five minutes only to catch fire and breeze their way to a blowout victory, 57-30.
The Lady Greyhounds of Monessen led 1-0 until the 2:53 mark of the first quarter where Anna Merry hit two free throws and Katie Sheeler added several buckets for a 10-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
O-E led 27-12 at the half after an 8-0 run that included threes by Merry and Sheeler, who scored all of the Lady Terrors’ 27 points in the first half.
Monessen found more offense in the second half, but O-E kept its foot on the gas and kept the big lead in good hands towards a 30-18 advantage in the half.
The Lady Greyhounds unfortunately had to finish the last 1:56 of the game with four players, as only seven dressed with one fouling out and two going out by technicals.
By no surprise, Katie Sheeler went off again for Otto-Eldred, dropping 30 points with six steals while Anna Merry had a great game as well with 17 and four rebounds.
Bri Heller controlled the boards for 11 rebounds while adding three assists and two blocks.
Na’Jaziah Carter led Monessen (17-7) with 11 points.
The Lady Terrors will take on Bishop Guilfoylethe second place finisher out of D6 on Wednesday, March 15 at DuBois High School as part of another doubleheader with the boys, who will play the seventh place finisher from D7, Serra Catholic, at 5:30 p.m.
In the nightcapper in Duke Center, the boys used a hot start and a hot finish to offset a competitive middle part of the game to knock off the third place finisher out of District 7, Greensburg Central Catholic, 66-54 in a shootout.
It was the Terrors’ first state playoff win in school history after falling short of the D9 Championship last Saturday.
Just five minutes into the action, O-E had barreled out to a 14-4 lead, prompting a timeout by the Centurions.
GCC then went on a 20-11 run through the rest of the first half to cut the lead to one, 25-24 at the break.
Both teams traded shots throughout the third quarter, highlighted by a three-pointer each by Austin Cousins and Shene Thomas.
In the final seconds of the frame, Tyree Turner swished a trey for the Centurions to take their first lead of the game at 44-41 before Brax Caldwell connected on a short jumper to make it 44-43 heading to the final eight minutes.
The Terrors stayed poised and went on their most important scoring run of the season with a dominant 16-1 advantage to start the fourth quarter to all but put the game away.
Landon Francis knocked down a jumper to put O-E back in the lead, Caldwell scored a trio of twos and Francis hit two free throws to make it a three possession game.
With the score at 53-45, Manning Splain sent a packed out Terror Dome into hysteria with quick back-to-back three-pointers, the second of which came off a steal.
That would cap off a solid performance for the Terrors from behind the arc, as they buried nine threes throughout the evening, three each from Cousins and Francis to go with the two from Splain and one from Shene Thomas.Tyree Turner had an excellent game for Greensburg Central Catholic (18-6), burying three three-pointers towards a game-high 27 points.
Samir Crosby added 12 for the Centurions and Franco Alvarez had nine.