Gannon’s women’s basketball coach, Cleve Wright, released footage of one of the Golden Knights’ final games against Edinboro.
One thing he noticed right away was how many of his players on film have suffered serious knee injuries since the match was played.
“At some point, four of the players we had on the court recovered from an ACL injury or they’re recovering from an ACL injury right now,” Wright said. “It’s tough, but the kids showed resilience and they bounced back. Last year we couldn’t have a game and now we play three games a week. It shows the character of our children who want to do well and play together.
Gannon continued to battle injuries Wednesday to outlast Edinboro 82-70 while junior star Tori Obenrader became the 30th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Gannon’s men battled an upset Edinboro 90-79 to complete the sweep at Hammermill Center.
Obenrader is one of the injured Golden Knights still recovering from a torn ACL. She is playing regular minutes as she works to get back to 100% with Sydney Mitchell and Harbor Creek graduate Ali Benim. Gannon is currently without point guard Boston McKinney and freshman guard Maddy Wheatley with leg injuries.
“I’m getting there,” Obenrader said of his recovery. “I actually had a bullet in the knee before this game to help. The big problem with all these injuries is that we rely on each other. It’s a shame we have so many players who suffer the same injury to lean on, but we’ve all been through the process and we’re helping each other.
Obenrader scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half to reach the milestone. She came out mid-range when Mitchell was trapped in the corner and punched through a jumper to send the crowd into a celebration.
“What a gem,” Wright said of Obenrader. “What a blessing that she was here when I came back and not only is she a really good basketball player but she’s just a really good person who cares about the team. She’s been through a lot of things. adversity and thinking she was dealing with an ACL a year ago and now that she’s back on the court doing what she does is amazing She earned her 1,000 points and earned her spot in this group.
“It’s great, but I’m more excited about the win against a local rival,” Obenrader said of hitting 1,000 points. “This game was a lot of fun and a big win for us.”
The victory was important not only in the rivalry, but Gannon took first place in the PSAC West with the win over Edinboro and Mercyhurst’s win over Seton Hill. The Golden Knights are 16-3 overall and 11-3 in PSAC, while Seton Hill is a half game away at 11-4. Seton Hill heads to the Hammermill Center on Saturday afternoon. Edinboro dropped to 8-7 overall and tied for fifth place with a PSAC record of 6-6. The Scots host Pitt-Johnstown on Saturday.
Fourth quarter run
Gannon led by a whopping 21 points in the second quarter, but Edinboro started to chip away at the lead. The Fighting Scots cut the lead to 68-64 with 7 minutes and 49 seconds left on a Bella Burrelli layup.
Gannon, however, responded with a 14-0 run sparked by a solid defensive effort. During the run, Gannon held Edinboro 0 for 5 from the field with five turnovers.
“We’re always talking about stopping, getting a rebound and letting the defense dictate,” Gannon guard Emma Wright said. “We are convinced that our defense can lead to attack. What’s great about this team is that we don’t care who scores. We are just looking for the open shooter and want to win. It really is team basketball.
Emma Wright sparked the run with a quick jump followed by three straight 3-pointers, including two from Samantha Pirosko and one from Wright. Obenrader finished the run with a free throw and then a layup to put the game away.
Emma Wright led Gannon with 21 points and six rebounds, while Samantha Pirosko had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and Obenrader had 17 points. Bella Burrelli beat Edinboro with 17 points and six rebounds, followed by Ashten Boggs (16 points), Lauren Mullen (12) and Rana Elhusseini (11).
Next watch for Gannon’s men
When fully healthy, Gannon’s men’s basketball team boasts one of the strongest guarding sets in the PSAC. The problem for the Golden Knights is that they can’t get healthy at the same time.
Gannon missed sniper Chris Clancy for most of the season, while starters Alonde LeGrand and Ike Herster, a Kennedy Catholic graduate, were both out Wednesday.
Guards Lance-Amir Paul and Braden Olsen rallied to collect 56 points and keep the Golden Knights in the playoff hunt in the PSAC West. Gannon improved to 10-7 overall and 7-6 in PSAC, good for sixth place, while Edinboro fell to 5-12, 3-9. The Golden Knights host Seton Hill on Saturday and the Scots host Pitt-Johnstown.
“All year we’ve been dealing with injuries and COVID,” Olsen said. “Myself, I had an ankle injury then COVID then concussion then COVID and we just fought it. He’s really the next man and that was my job (Wednesday).”
Olsen didn’t start on Wednesday, but when Cathedral Prep graduate Alfonso Pickens ran into foul trouble, Olsen played 33 minutes scoring 30 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He was 13 of 18 from the free throw line as Gannon knocked down 22 of 28 free throws.
Olsen’s effort was matched by Paul, who averages almost 36 minutes per game. He scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. Over the last eight games, Paul has played 40, 31, 40, 40, 36, 38, 40 and 39 minutes.
“I feel like I was made for this. I work hard in the offseason to prepare my body for this situation and I feel like I can play 40 minutes every game,” said Paul. “I feel like when guys see how I work and how I carry myself, it can give them some confidence, so I try to lead by example.”
Edinboro was able to cut Gannon’s lead to 78-74 with 2:21 left on a 3-pointer from Cathedral Prep grad Jaryn Simpson, but the Golden Knights raced 8-0 to put the game away. side, including six free throws from Olsen and a bucket from Paul.
“One thing we’ve learned is how to deal with adversity,” Gannon’s coach Kelvin Jefferson said. “We didn’t have Ike and Alonde and we haven’t had Clancy all year. We took care of it and it gives other guys a chance to step in. Olsen went into the clutch and other guys also stepped up when we had two guys at fault in the first half. Hope we get back to health soon.
Ali Ragab had 10 rebounds and Olsen had eight as Gannon rebounded Edinboro 47-29.
Deontae Robertson led Edinboro with 23 points, while Cyrie Coates had 16, Simpson added 12 and McDowell graduate Jack Gallagher tied his career high with 10 points.
“This is the critical time and we have to take care of business,” Jefferson said. “This league can be won or lost in a few games and I told the guys the most important game of the year was next.”
Contact Tom Reisenweber at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ETNreisenweber