SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – After racing past Conneaut twice in the regular season, Slippery Rock found itself trailing at halftime against the Eagles in the D10 Class 5A quarterfinals, 18-17.
Their response to the adversity was perfect.
The Rockets went on a 23-0 run and held the Eagles scoreless in the second half until the 2-minute mark of the fourth quarter in a 42-24 victory that vaulted them into the semifinals.
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Quite simply, they knocked down shots on offense and put the clamps down on the defensive end.
“All teams go through stuff like that, but unfortunately ours was in a playoff game,” said Slippery Rock coach Amber Osborn about the slow start. “We just made a couple of adjustments and they responded to everything that I told them, which is what you want.”
Anna Kadlubek was the offensive catalyst, knocking down a pair of 3s in the third quarter that, coupled with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Maryann Ackerman, gave the Rockets a double-digit lead, 30-18 after three.
Kadlubek talked about the win afterward:
The lead swelled to as big as 22 before Conneaut scored its first points of the second half on a Samantha Elgi layup, but by that point, Slippery Rock had the win well in hand.
“They got through it, they responded,” Osborn said.
The first half was back and forth, as Conneaut started off strong thanks to an Emma Stevenson three and a pair of drives to the basket by Jaelyn Blood.
An old-fashioned 3-point play from Bronwyn McCoy and a triple from Hallie Raabe gave Slippery Rock a 15-14 lead in the second quarter, but buckets from Rylee Jones and Jocelyn Denihan helped give the Eagles their 1-point advantage.
“The first half was a little bit of chaos,” Kadlubek said. “The second half, we were like, this was our time, let’s go out there and play our game.”
Kadlubek led the Rockets with 15 points, while Raabe and McCoy netted nine each.
Jones, Stevenson and Blood had six points each for Conneaut.
Up next for Slippery Rock is a familiar foe, Grove City in the semifinals.
The Rockets handled the Eagles twice in the regular season. It was Grove City, however, that beat them for the District 10 title a season ago.
“I think these guys still feel like they have a lot to prove,” Osborn said. “Even though we did beat them in the regular season, that doesn’t mean anything right now. It’s always a good matchup between us.”
Rylee Jones 3-0-0-6, Emma Stevenson 2-0-3-6, Jaelyn Blood 3-0-0-6, Jocelyn Denihan 1-0-0-2, Madalyn Kroniser 1-0-0-2, Samantha Egli 1-0-1-2, Camdyn Seman 0-0-0-0, Hannah Brady 0-0-0-0, Totals 11-0-5-24
SLIPPERY ROCK (42)
Maryann Ackerman 2-1-1-5, Kelly Benson 1-0-0-2, Anna Kadlubek 6-0-0-15, Hallie Raabe 4-0-0-9, Bronwyn McCoy 4-1-4-9, Gianna Bedel 0-0-1-0, Katie Book 0-0-1-0, Audrey Kura 0-2-2-2, Totals 17-4-9-42
Conneaut 7 11 0 6 – 24
Slippery Rock 9 8 13 12 – 42
Three-point FGs: Conneaut (2) – Stevenson 2; Slippery Rock (4) – Kadlubek 3, Raabe