SHADYSIDE - Shadyside coach Tina Yates knows what it takes for her team to continue to be successful.
The biggest keys are playing good defense and balanced scoring.
After Thursday evening's convincing 50-33 victory against invading Wheeling Central (3-2), which included a second-half blitz in which the hosts outscored the Knights, 33-17, the Tigers players are starting to figure it out, too.
"When we get everyone involved and play as a team, I think we can be pretty good," Yates said. "We just can't rely on one person to put it on her shoulders. It's a team sport for a reason."
The Tigers (4-1) found themselves nursing a 17-16 lead at the halftime as both teams were playing lights out on the defensive end, challenging every shot.
However, in the second half, the Tigers' size on the interior, which is supplied by senior ace Brooke Meintel and junior Kristen Fijalkowski, took its toll as the Orange turned several second-chance opportunities into points, while the Knights continued to struggle mightily from the floor.
"They were killing us on the boards," Central coach Penn Kurtz said. "We worked on (boxing out and rebounding) all week, but it seemed to fall apart in the second half."
Meintel, who was coming off her best performance of the season in a victory against Oak Glen last Saturday, put forth an effort Yates and the Tigers have come to expect from their senior leader. Meintel scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the second half alone en route to team-high honors in both categories. She finished with 18 points and 14 boards.
"Brooke has the instincts to know where the ball is going off the rim (to rebound), and that's something you can't teach,'' Yates said. ''She goes and gets the ball well and she finished well on the offensive end."
Meintel sparked a key third-quarter run in which Shadyside scored the first 10 points of the second half to open space between itself and the Knights, who meshed just 5 of 22 shots from the floor in the second half and 11 of 47 for the game.
"I think we got a little frustrated on the offensive end because (Shadyside) was playing great defense by taking away a lot of things we wanted to run," Kurtz said. "Nothing seemed to go well for us in the second half."
While Meintel was doing her thing in the paint, the dynamite Shadyside backcourt of juniors Hayley Holenka and Karli Bonar continued to do their part. Holenka, who was held without a field goal at Oak Glen last weekend, finished with 17, including 12 in the second half. Bonar added 11.
Wheeling Central didn't produce a double-figure scorer. Bri Robbins led with nine.