Faust leads Fillies into semis
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Marian's Monica Baranko (23) is guarded closely by Nativity's Mariah Sabol as she tries to muscle her way to the basket. Samantha Faust (4) of the Fillies looks on at left.
POTTSVILLE - If Sam Faust's high school basketball career was going to end Saturday, she wasn't going to let it happen quietly.
Thanks in large part to the noise that Faust made both on and off the court, her career and Marian's season will continue.
Faust scored all of her game-high 15 points in the second half as the Fillies rallied for a 40-30 victory over Pottsville Nativity in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Girls Class A playoffs.
"To be perfectly honest, I did think about how close my high school career could be to ending," said Faust. "Friday I started to think that it could be my last practice, but I tried to get that thought out of my head as quickly as possible.
"So when we were trailing at halftime tonight, I guess it might have crossed my mind. But I wasn't thinking about this possibly being my last game, I was thinking about what I needed to do to make sure it wasn't."
That's when Faust started to make some noise.
"As a senior, I knew I had to step up when the team needed me," said Faust. "We have a lot of young players, so I just told them at halftime that no matter what, we were going to find a way to win this game."
After talking the talk, Faust went out on the court and walked the walk.
She scored Marian's first four points of the third quarter and added a pair of free throws late in the quarter. In between, the Fillies got back-to-back three-pointers from Gabby Green and Ashley Fannick that turned a 20-18 deficit into a 24-20 lead. Faust's free throws then gave Marian a six-point advantage heading into the final quarter.
"We're not a great halfcourt offense team," said Marian coach Paul Brutto. "I thought we good some good shots early, but just didn't make them.
"So at halftime we stressed trying to get up and down the court quicker to try and get some looks before their zone could get set up."
The strategy paid dividends for the Fillies.
After shooting just 3-for-21 from the field and scoring 10 points in the opening half, Marian put 16 points on the board in the third quarter, many of them coming in transition.
The Fillies, who pressed the length of the court the entire game, also became more aggressive with their pressure after intermission as they forced 11 second half turnovers by the Golden Girls.
"I think we panicked somewhat against their press in the second half," said Nativity coach George Forney. "If teams are going to press that aggressively, you have to make them pay for it.
"We had opportunities to attack their press, but we just didn't do it."
Nativity (11-12) did make a couple of runs in the fourth quarter, but Faust ended one with a three-point play and Fannick stopped the other with a three-point shot.
With the Fillies leading 34-28, Faust sealed the victory by going 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final minute.
"Sam (Faust) gets most of her points on hustle plays," said Brutto. "She's done that the last two years. Tonight, she did a nice job of getting to the foul line and converting that into points."
In addition to Faust's big game, the Fillies also got eight points from Green and 11 rebounds from freshman Savanna Krusinsky.
Marian (16-8) will now advance to Wednesday's semifinal round where it will face Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg at 6 p.m. at Martz Hall.
The Fillies' victory celebration was tempered by an injury that Green suffered with 5:47 left in the game. Marian's star point guard went down on a drive to the basket and had to be helped off the court. The initial fear was that Green might have torn her ACL.
"We will have to see, but it doesn't look good," Brutto said about Green's injury. "Gabby is such a great kid. She is so popular with the rest of the team, it was quite a jolt to everyone when she went down and couldn't return.
" I was proud of how our kids responded though. It's tough enough to replace a key player like that when you have a couple of practices to adjust. But to have to do it in the middle of a close game like we had to do today says a lot about our kids."
Socko 0-0-0-0, White 1-0-0-2, Hughes 1-2-4-5, White 0-0-0-0, Andrefski 2-4-4-9, Warren 2-5-8-10, Sabol 1-0-0-2, Parabek 0-0-0-0, Luckenbill 1-0-2-2. TOTALS: 8-11-18-30
Green 2-3-4-8, Faust 2-11-11-15, Fannick 2-0-0-6, Bray 0-0-0-0, Sofranko 1-0-0-2, Shaud 0-0-0-0, Nemeth 1-2-4-5, Baranko 0-0-0-0, Krusinsky 1-2-4-4, Hill 0-0-0-0, Holman 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 9-18-23-40.
Nativity 5 10 5 10 - 30
Marian 3 7 16 14 - 40
Three-pointers: N - Hughes 1, Andrefski 1, Warren 1. M - Fannick 2, Green 1, Nemeth 1.