Prexies ride early lead to victory

February 14, 2014
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Wash High’s Mikala Maltony tries to put up a shot as Shady Side Academy’s Emily Natoli defends during the second half of Friday’s WPIAL Class AA preliminary round game. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
The Prexies were all smiles after topping Shady Side Academy, 43-27, Friday. Washington will face Neshannock in the next round of playoffs. Order a Print

MCMURRAY – Washington sophomore forward Mikala Maltony grabbed a defensive rebound in the second quarter when a foul was called against her. The Prexies’ head coach and her father, Mike Maltony, instructed from the sideline for her to take better position under the basket.

Mikala Maltony proved to be a good listener and a quick learner, something any father can appreciate, as she responded with her best performance of the season. Maltony scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Washington’s 43-27 win over Shady Side Academy in a Class AA preliminary round matchup Friday night at Peters Township High School.

“It’s fun having him as a coach, but it can be hard,” Mikala Maltony said. “He expects the best out of me, but I like it because he’s always there to help.”

The Prexies (14-8) jumped out to a big lead in the first half, with rebounding and strong defensive play leading the way. Maltony scored four points for her team in a 22-point first quarter as Wash High bolted to an early 16-point lead. Maltony grabbed rebound after rebound; while displaying improved post moves.

“It’s fun to coach her, it really is,” Mike Maltony said. “To see her grow as a basketball player has been great. She played incredibly hard tonight. She just kept grabbing rebound after rebound.”

After a fast, hard-fought first quarter, anxiety got the best of Washington in the second quarter as the Indians (10-13) tightened their defensive pressure. The result was a series of turnovers for the Prexies, and Shady Side Academy had a chance to mount a comeback. The Indians could not capitalize.

The Indians continued to miss shots and could not earn second chances with the hard work of the Prexies’ forwards – most notably, Maltony. While the Prexies did not reach double-digit points in points in any of the final three quarters, their play on the defensive end earned them the playoff victory.

“We came in and played them hard because we knew they would not want to have a slow start,” Mikala Maltony said. “We were ready and had an idea of what they were planning to do on offense. It feels great to get the win.”

Senior India March and junior Taylor Ellis also had 10 points each for Washington, while sophomore Tajah Gordon finished with eight,

With the win, Wash High advances to face No. 4 seed Neshannock (21-1) Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

“I told the team that the good thing is we won the game,” Mike said. “The only bad thing for them is that we have practice in the morning.”

It is the second-straight season with a playoff win for Washington after defeating Ford City in a preliminary round game at Yough on Feb. 15 last year. Their season ended four days later with a 61-20 loss to top-ranked Seton-La Salle.

With a deep lineup featuring playoff experience, Mike Maltony is encouraged after his team’s performance against Shady Side.

“That was the best we’ve played all season,” Maltony said. “We came out early with a lot of energy and unlike other games where started throwing the ball away, we only did that for one quarter tonight.”

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