Balance has been a key in the success of the Seton-LaSalle girls basketball team this season.
That was evident in a 16-0 run to begin the game, as the Rebels rolled to a 65-44 victory against Section 4-AA rival Bishop Canevin in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal Friday night at North Allegheny High School.
Seton-LaSalle (25-4) will meet Burrell in the PIAA Class AA semifinals Tuesday in a rematch of the WPIAL championship, which the Rebels won, 55-34, at Palumbo Center. Burrell advanced with a 62-48 victory against General McLane.
The victory gave the Rebels a four-game sweep of the Crusaders (21-7). Seton-LaSalle won the two regular-season meetings (41-24 and 63-51) and in a WPIAL semifinal, 62-40.
Senior center Yacine Diop led the Rebels with 16 points; junior guards Nicolete Newman and Cassidy Walsh added 15 and 12 points.
"The [balanced scoring] has been the hallmark of this team all year," said Spencer Stefko, the Rebels' first-year coach who took over at Seton-LaSalle after a successful tenure at Chartiers Valley. "That's just the way these kids play, and that's to their credit. I never say we want everyone to score the same, but they all have green lights to do whatever they can to help the team win the game. That's kids making decision; that's not coaching."
Bishop Canevin's Gina Vallecorsa led all scorers with 24 points. Sarah Greene added 10.
The Rebels began the game with their foot on the accelerator and coupled it with a defensive effort that forced 13 turnovers in the first quarter. The Rebels also limited the usually dependable Johnie Olkosky to three points and held outside threat Erin Joyce scoreless.
"Yacine Diop along with four helpers [defended Olkosky]," Stefko said. "[Olkosky] is such a good player that you have to game plan for her. We did, and the kids executed the heck out of it."
Stefko certainly didn't expect the Rebels to have such a large advantage with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
"We caught them on an off-night," he said. "You can't expect to be up 16-0 against such a talented ballclub."
Seton-LaSalle retained a double-digit lead that reached its peak at 61-32 when Diop hit two free throws with 4:28 left. Canevin went on a 12-4 run to cut the final margin to 21 points.
Other Class AA game
■ Burrell 62, General McLane 48: Burrell went on a 24-9 run to help it capture a quarterfinal victory at Sharon High School. The Bucs (28-1) had a balanced effort and were proficient at the free-throw line, sinking 18 of 19 attempts. Junior guard Sydney Bordonaro led Burrell with 26 points, sinking all 10 of her free-throw attempts. Sophomore forward Natalie Myers scored 17 points, and senior guard Kelsey Oddis added 13 points.