Gator girls win D-9 playoff opener

PORT ALLEGANY_A combination of pressure defense and strong frontcourt play proved too much for the visiting Venango Catholic Lady Vikings to handle, as the second-seeded Port Allegany Gators broke open a close game after halftime to claim a 45-35 victory in Thursday night’s District 9 Class A first-round game.

Becca Lathrop took over in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of her game-high 19 points down the stretch as the Gators pulled away for the win. Gabby Drabert added eight and also pulled down eight rebounds, while McKenna Johnson turned in a strong all-around game with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Lindsay Homan scored 13 and Taylor Moltz 10 to lead No. 7 Venango Catholic.

Port Allegany (20-3) moves on to face No. 3 seed Keystone (19-4), which knocked off No. 6 Coudersport 54-51 last night, in next week’s D-9 semifinals at a time and place to be determined. Top-seeded Clarion (21-3) and No. 5 Johnsonburg (17-6) also advanced with wins on Thursday night, with all four semifinalists guaranteed a trip to the PIAA playoffs.

At Port Allegany, Feb. 21:
Venango Catholic (35)
A. Homan 0 4-4 4, Kuhn 1 0-0 2, L. Homan 5 1-2 13, Guth 2 2-3 6, Moltz 2 5-8 10, Dzieckiasz 0 0-0 0, Niederriter 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 12-17 35.
Port Allegany (45)
Miller 0 4-10 4, Johnson 0 0-3 0, Drabert 4 0-4 8, Roys 3 2-3 8, Lathrop 9 1-3 19, Buchsenschutz 1 0-0 2, Delacour 1 2-2 4. Totals: 18 9-25 45.

VC_11 17 23 35
PA_8 16 29 45

Three-point baskets: Venango Catholic 3 (L. Homan 2, Moltz), Port Allegany 0. Fouls: Venango Catholic 18, Port Allegany 14. Fouled out: A. Homan, L. Homan.

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