WHEELING - After coming up short in big games so far this season, the Shadyside girls' basketball team wanted to make sure that history wouldn't repeat itself when it came into their matchup with Wheeling Park.
Even when the team was down by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Tigers kept fighting and were able to come back and beat the Patriots, 57-45, in Wheeling on Thursday night.
"They're hard-nosed, they're gritty and they'll just keep battling and battling," Shadyside coach Tina Yates said of her team. "This is a big win. We've had a few games where we've been right there and haven't been able to overcome the hump. We started off down and just had to fight back the whole time."
SHADYSIDE’S Hayley Holenka tries to keep her balance to gain possession during Thursday’s game in Wheeling. Holenka scored 22 in the victory.
Haley Robb started the game for Park (5-3) with back-to-back 3-pointers as the Patriots raced out to a 15-2 lead midway through the first period and led 29-14 with 1:15 left in the second before the Tigers (5-5) went on a 6-0 run to close out the half.
"(Kenzie) Fielding had a big putback at the end of the first half that really sparked us going in at halftime," Yates said.
The nine-point halftime deficit gave the visitors hope as Shadyside came out determined to cut into Wheeling Park's lead.
The Tigers then used a 13-4 run to close the gap to within three at 37-34 heading into the final period.
After Fijalkowski started off the fourth with two makes from the free throw line, Hayley Holenka gained control of the ball off of a Wheeling Park turnover, raced down the court and put in a diving layup to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 38-37.
Robb regained the lead for Park on its next possesion, but it was short-lived as Karli Bonar nailed a 3-point bomb to put Shadyside ahead to stay.
"We started off a house of fire, then we lost our spark and went down hill after that," Patriots coach Dee Davis said. "We couldn't buy a basket. I don't know if they beat us or we beat us.
The Robert Morris recruit finished the game with 13 points, but was held to only four in the second half.
Robb led Wheeling Park with 16 points behind two 3s.
Holenka paced Shadyside with 22 points while Fielding ended her night with a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Bonar and Fijalkowski each finished with 11 points apiece.