Semifinal Showdown

Lady Dragons seek revenge against Slippery Rock, berth in D-10 title game

From left, Warren coach Lisa LaVan and players Laura Lucks, Morgan Lupole and Kelsey Stuart celebrate during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s District 10 Class 5A quarterfinal win over General McLane. The Lady Dragons battle Slippery Rock in the semifinals tonight

Minutes after last season’s D-10 quarterfinal loss to Slippery Rock, Warren coach Lisa LaVan said that her team was already looking forward to next season.

The Lady Dragons made it through the quarterfinal round this time around with a win over General McLane on Saturday, and will get a chance at revenge when they take on the same Slippery Rock team in the semifinals today at Meadville High School (6:30 p.m.).

Well, it’s not exactly the same squad, as the Lady Rockets lost a decorated senior class to graduation, but find themselves in the same position they were a year ago.

“It’s interesting to see them back, it shows you they’re a good, solid program,” LaVan said. “I think (losing to them last season) will push the girls a little more. Now we have the opportunity to push past them and get to the finals, which is the big prize.”

To do so, they will have to get past a young but talented group of Lady Rockets that relies on their strong guard play

Three freshman – Anna Kadlubak, Hallie Raabe and Maryann Ackerman all have played large roles for The Rock this season.

Kadlubak is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 ppg., while Raabe checks in at 9.1 ppg. and Ackerman 8.6 ppg.

“They have some very talented young players,” LaVan said. “The best thing about freshman is that they don’t know any better. We said that about Margo (Loutzenhiser) two years ago in the District 10 championship game and the good things she did.”

Senior Emma McDermott is SR’s leading scorer (13.5 ppg) and best outside shooter, while senior Macy McCall averages 11.1 ppg.

It’s a group of guards that like to penetrate on offense and press on defense.

“They are scrappy and quick,” LaVan said. “They love to have their defense create their offense, so they’re going to give us pressure. They’re going to try a couple different presses on us.

“We have similar styles on offense. It will be an interesting game. I think we matchup well against them and I think she (Slippery Rock coach Amber Osborn) feels the same way. I think it will be really good game.”

Slippery Rock disposed of Grove City 40-25 in the quarterfinals, with Raabe leading the way, scoring 13 points. It’s a game in which they led by four at halftime and were able to pull away in the second half, much like Warren did against General McLane.

The Lady Dragon defense was stifling against GM, and Loutzenhiser and Rachel Wilson led the way on offense with 18 and 11 points respectively.

It’s a team that, despite a 1-8 start, has battled to get to the position they are in now, with both players and coaches alike staying the course even when things weren’t going their way, knowing that the tough start wasn’t a reflection of what they were capable of.

“It keeps getting back to playing that schedule,” LaVan said. “We played the schedule we did for games like this. To prepare us for games like this. Playing Canon-Mac, playing a state champion in Fairmont (WV), those are the games that help you for this.”

The Lady Dragons also have the luxury of depth, with a rotation of nine players.

It’s a team that is the perfect combination of loose and locked in.

“They’re pretty excited,” LaVan said. “If I had to describe it in one word I’d say ready. They’re ready.”