Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Week: Montour’s Courtney Tomas
An optimistic December, which began with two wins and concluded with a 4-4 overall record, gave way to a cold, long and nearly winless January and February as Montour finished in the basement of Section 1-5A.
But while the losses kept piling up, so did the points poured in by senior Courtney Tomas. Despite the Spartans’ struggles, Tomas has been a bright star, as she will finish in near the top of the WPIAL in scoring, averaging 22.5 points per game.
“It has been a very bittersweet season,” second-year coach Neal Martin said. “Courtney has really come into her own as a player. Her improvements were on display for much of the year. I couldn’t be happier for her.”
Tomas became the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with more than 1,600 points for her career. She was close to 1,000 rebounds, as well.
“Courtney possesses a very high motor,” Martin said. “I’m not sure that people really understand how tough this girl is until they see her in action. She is an excellent finisher and free throw shooter. Her long range abilities have improved this season, as well. We didn’t have the luxury of resting her much this season. She sat a grand total of 15 minutes the entire season.”
Tomas will take her talents to Seton Hill in the fall.
“She will adapt very well to a role and be happy to contribute in any way possible,” Martin said. “I think she will welcome an opportunity to catch her breath.”
Montour finished 1-13 in Section 1-5A and ended up 5-17 overall. Martin admits the losing was not easy on Tomas.
“Our team’s struggles were without question a huge point of frustration for her, our staff, and the girls on our team. The thing that amazed me most was regardless of the score or meaning of the game, Courtney approaches every play as if it’s her last. However, not once has she let our team’s difficult stretch impact her attitude or effort.”
She also displayed leadership ability as a senior.
“Courtney was great with our young girls,” Martin said. “She was positive and energetic with them. She understood that we needed to play several girls with limited experience, and she was great with that transition. This is where her caring personality was evident.”
Despite the lack of wins and the Spartans closing out the season losing 11 straight, Tomas concluded her scholastic basketball career with a big bang on the scoresheet. She scored 123 points in a busy five games this past week.
“It was a very busy week for our team,” Martin said. “Courtney managed to get her 20 to 25 points like clockwork. That is one thing we could consistently count on this year. She got her point totals in all but one or two games. She learned how to play aggressive, but protect herself from foul trouble. The year, from an individual standpoint, was amazing.”
Lindsay Steeber, Belle Vernon
Momentum can be a wonderful thing when it comes to February basketball. Linday Steeber hopes her efforts and those of her Belle Vernon teammates will carry over to the postseason after a strong finish last week in section play. Steeber scored 23 points on Monday as the Leopards knocked off second-place Southmoreland, 46-44. Then on Thursday, the senior dropped 20 points in a 64-52 victory over section champion Elizabeth Forward as Belle Vernon and McKeesport finished tied for third in Section 3-4A.
Ariana Goitz, Shady Side Academy
Section 3 champion Shady Side Academy saw a nine-game winning streak end last week, but a 17-2 record should give the Indians plenty of confidence heading into the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs. Ariana Goitz enjoyed a 75-point week against three playoff-bound teams as she scored 31 in a 64-41 win over East Allegheny, 23 points in a 47-45 loss to Carlynton and then rebounded with a 21-point performance in a victory over Deer Lakes.
Ashley Norling, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart went 4-0 in the final week of the regular season, including two section victories over playoff-bound teams as the Chargers earned a share of the Section 1-2A title with Laurel. Ashley Norling led the way with 26 points in a rout of Northgate, 23 points in a 73-16 victory over Sto-Rox, and the senior scored 21 points as OLSH beat up on South Side Beaver to close out their section slate. In the regular season finale for the Chargers, Norling led all scorers with 26 points in a 50-43 triumph over Butler.
Don Rebel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Don at [email protected] or via Twitter @TheDonRebel.