When a player has an exceptional performance, particularly late in a game, it can be easy to rush and say that they "single-handedly" willed their team back into or won a game. Oftentimes, this isn't actually the case, as basketball is obviously a team game that requires many players to pitch in and score.
Last Saturday in the WPIAL, however, a game took place that defied traditional hyperbole.
In the Fort Cherry girls' basketball team's 41-22 loss to Trinity in a non-section game, guard Jenna Lucas scored each one of her team's points in the game, bringing a new, and literal, meaning to the term "single-handed."
"I have never been associated with [anything like] that," Fort Cherry coach Gary Kacsur said of Lucas' accomplishment.
Included in Lucas' 22 points were four made 3-pointers, more than any other player recorded that night in the WPIAL.
Impressive as the feat was, there is some context to attach to Lucas' scoring total. In the first quarter of the game, the Rangers lost junior guard Rachel Bellhy to an ankle injury. Bellhy entered the game against Trinity averaging 18.2 points per game, making her not only Fort Cherry's leading scorer, but also one of the top scorers in the WPIAL.
Kacsur said the injury will be re-evaluated this week. In the meantime, the Rangers, who have just two seniors on their roster, will look to make due without their star player.
"She's very important to our team," Kacsur said. "The girls look up to her. When she goes and Jenna goes, the whole team goes. Everyone's important on our team and they need to step up a little more with our top scorer down."
While it is unreasonable to expect Lucas to account for 100 percent of her team's points like she did last Saturday, Fort Cherry will be relying more on its second-leading scorer and assist leader in wake of Bellhy's injury.
The Rangers (7-8, 4-5) have four games left in the regular season and though they have a losing record, they are still in contention for one of the top four spots in Class AA Section 4, which would give them a spot in the WPIAL playoffs.
But even if Fort Cherry is unable to qualify for the playoffs, it will be hard to forget an equally extraordinary and bizarre performance in late January from its junior guard.
"She was able to step it up and try to help the team out as best as she could," Kacsur said. "She tried her best and the others tried their best. Their shots just weren't going down."
The new year is usually a chance for a clean slate, but it has not been kind to two Class A Section 1 boys' teams -- Cornell and Rochester.
Beginning Jan. 4, the Raiders and Rams have combined to win just one game. Cornell has lost seven consecutive games and 10 of its past 12, while Rochester has lost seven of its past eight games.
The one victory between the two teams, since Jan. 4? That would be the Rams' 62-56 victory over the Raiders on Jan. 15.
Here are a handful of games to keep an eye on this week that involve top area teams on both the boys' and girls' side:
• Our Lady of Sacred Heart at Beaver, today, 7:30 p.m. -- In a game that will likely decide which girls' team claims the top seed in Class AA Section 6, the Chargers will look to slow down Lexi Posset and the Bobcats. Beaver won the first meeting between the two this season, 41-34, on Jan. 7.
• Blackhawk at Central Valley, Monday, 7:30 p.m. -- Class AAA Section 2 in girls' basketball has been nothing short of a powerhouse this season, as it claims the top three teams in the Post-Gazette's Class AAA rankings. Two of those teams, the Cougars and Warriors, will tip off for a final time this season, as Chassidy Omogrosso and Blackhawk's balanced scoring attack will take on Central Valley's dynamic scoring duo of Seairra Barrett and Madi Rowan.
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