Muha, Panthers take 'team-first' approach into PIAA second round
Mar. 15—Jenna Muha has produced numerous memorable performances throughout a career that has her atop the all-time scoring list in both Somerset County and District 5 girls basketball.
But the Shade 6-foot playmaker found extra satisfaction in being a part of the Panthers' 48-38 victory over District 3 champion Mount Calvary on Saturday in the first round of the PIAA Class 1A tournament.
"I'm a team player. I love my teammates," Muha said. "They're always there. I look for them. They look for me. We all have the common goal of winning. We all want what's best.
"I never want the spotlight on just me. I want it to be on the whole team.
"We're just one whole team."
The District 5 third-place Panthers (17-10) will face District 4 third-place Our Lady of Lourdes Regional (19-7) in the second round at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg.
"Number 00, Masie Reed, she's a pretty good point guard who averages about 12 points a game," Muha said.
"We've been watching film since Saturday. We're anticipating and so excited. We're going to do our best. We worked on defense. We're going to work hard.
"We know they're a good team. We'll compete with them and do the best we can to win."
Muha had 36 points, 20 rebounds and five steals in the win over Mount Calvary. The Frostburg State University basketball commit tallied 47 points in a 65-61 comeback win over rival Conemaugh Township in the district consolation contest.
Overall, Muha has 2,329 points, the most in Somerset County and District 5 girls basketball history. She also has 1,419 rebounds.
"I've been so grateful. I've been blessed by God with all the opportunities I've gotten," Muha said. "My teammates have helped me tremendously. I thank my teammates, my coaches, my family.
"They've been there every step of the way. I couldn't have done it without them.
"My senior year, I couldn't ask for anything more. We all want to win on Wednesday. We just don't want it to be over."
The winner of Wednesday's game will meet the winner of a second-round contest between District 1 champion The Christian Academy and District 4 runner-up St. John Neumann in Saturday's quarterfinal round.
Class 1A Girls
District 5-1 Berlin Brothersvalley (20-5) vs. District 7-2 Aquinas Academy (17-9), at Norwin High School, 6 p.m.
The District 5 champions left no doubt in the first round, as the Mountaineers built an early 18-3 lead over District 9 fourth-place North Clarion and went on to a 46-22 win.
Senior guard and Seton Hill signee Gracie Sechler led all scorers with 15 points for the Mountaineers, while senior forward Jennifer Countryman added 12 points.
Aquinas Academy junior Emily Fisher averages 11.6 points a game, and sophomore Violet Johnson tallies 10.6 points and 8.9 rebounds a night.
The Crusaders have won three of their past four games following a three-game losing streak.
The winner will advance to face the victor of a second-round game between District 6 runner-up Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and District 9 champion Otto-Eldred in Saturday's quarterfinal.
Class 4A Girls
District 6-1 Penn Cambria (13-12) vs. District 10-1 Fairview (20-6), at North Allegheny High School, 6 p.m.
The Penn Cambria combination of seniors Abby Crossman and Emily Hite accounted for 38 points in a 50-42 win over District 7 fourth-place Highlands in the opening round.
Crossman averages a team-high 15.6 points a game while also hauling in 7.5 rebounds a game. Hite averages a double-double, with 11.7 points and 11.3 rebounds a game.
Fairview has won eight straight contests, including a low-scoring, 26-23 win over District 7 sixth-place Beaver in the first round.
Senior Hope Garrity averages 14.7 points a game. Sophomore Breanna Heidt scores 11.2 points a game.
The winner will meet the winner of a second-round game between District 7 runner-up Blackhawk and District 7 fifth-place Knoch in Saturday's quarterfinal round.
Class 3A Boys
Penn Cambria came back against some big odds in a 61-53 victory over District 7 seventh-place Yough in the first round.
The Panthers trailed by nine points and leading scorer Garrett Harrold had four fouls with six minutes remaining at Mount Aloysius.
Penn Cambria tallied 21 of the game's final 25 points, including the last 13 points of the contest.
Harrold finished with 24 points and Easton Semelsberger netted 18 points, including six of the Panthers' 11 3-point field goals.
Steel Valley opened the season with five straight losses and was 1-7 at one point, but won 10 of its final 11 games and 15 of the last 18, heading into the second round.
In a 74-60 victory over District 5 Bedford in the first round, Steel Valley's all-time leading scorer Makhai Valentine (1,751 career points) scored 42 points.
The winner will play the victor of a second-round game between District 10 champion Franklin and District 7 runner-up Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Saturday's quarterfinal round.
Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.