Senior showing the way

Mars' Pelaia honored, then leads girls win

February 10, 2020 Cranberry Local Sports


ADAMS TWP — Senior Night turned into Senior Day.

Bella Pelaia and her Mars teammates ruled it regardless, jumping on Hampton 19-3 in the first quarter and cruising home with a 55-48 girls basketball win Saturday during their final home game of the season.

Pelaia is the Planets' lone senior. Mars was supposed to host Hampton Friday night and honor Pelaia before the game, but Friday's snowfall forced postponement of the game — and the pregame festivities — to Saturday afternoon.

“It didn't matter. It was still my day,” Pelaia said. “There was a little more emotion involved with me being the only senior.

“But after the pregame thing was over with, we had a game to play. It was time to focus.”

And focus, they did.

Pelaia opened the game by draining a trey and Mars (15-6, 8-4) never did trail in wrapping up third place in Section 2-5A. The Planets used a 14-0 run to open up that 19-3 bulge.

Hampton (6-14, 5-7) did chip away, using a 6-0 run in the third quarter to pull within 39-29 midway through the period. Pelaia struck again, however, sinking a free throw, then a trey after her team grabbed the offensive rebound from her second free throw.

An Ava Black layup and Alek Johnson trey helped jump the lead back to 50-31 by the end of the quarter. Mars coach Dana Petruska freely substituted in the final quarter and the Talbots closed the game with a 10-0 run.

“This type of game has happened a lot to us this year,” Petruska said. “We start out looking like a million bucks, just playing great, then we lose our intensity at some point.

“I hate to use this as an excuse, but we are so young. We've got some sophomores and freshmen on the floor. There are going to be ups and downs.”

Johnson, a junior guard, led the Planets with 22 points. She added three assists and drained six treys. Pelaia scored 15 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had three steals.

Olivia Donnelly came off the bench to score nine points and add a pair of assists for the Planets.

“I didn't shoot very well the past couple of games, so I wanted to come out today and have a good game shooting the ball,” Johnson said.

She was glad her team was able to get a win on Pelaia's day.

“Bella is the best role model you could ever ask for,” Johnson said. “She's really become a leader and we just try to follow her example.

“She does so many things for this team.”

Pelaia described Johnson as “our sharpshooter. When she's feeling it, just get her the ball.”

Kayla Hoehler led Hampton with 14 points. Sophie Kelly contributed 13 points and five assists.

Mars travels to once-beaten Rochester to close the regular season Monday night.

“That will be a playoff-type atmosphere and that will be good for us,” Petruska said. “I'm looking forward to seeing how we handle that game.

“Bella isn't a talkative leader, that's just not her personality. She definitely leads by example. I hope the younger kids see how she's become the player she is. It's the work you put in on your own, when nobody's watching, that makes you succeed. That's what Bella's done.”


Kayla Hoehler 5-10 0-0 14, Olivia Bianco 3-9 0-1 7, Addie Klocko 2-6 1-1 5, Sophie Kelly 3-10 6-6 13, Katie Baker 0-1 1-2 1, Kayla Januck 1-2 0-0 2, Grace Rydzak 0-2 0-0 0, Cass Reinert 1-2 0-0 3, Maggie Perkins 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie L:ong 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 16-44 8-10 48.


Alek Johnson 7-12 2-2 22, Ava Black 2-4 0-0 4, Bella Pelaia 4-13 5-6 15, Kaitlyn Pelaia 1-2 0-0 3, Madeleine Horvath 0-2 0-0 0, Carly Kern 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia Donnelly 4-6 0-0 9, Kylee Fredericks 1-1 0-0 2, Lauren Attwell 0-2 0-0 0, Megan Yanief 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 19-43 7-8 55.

Hampton 6 16 9 17 — 48

Mars22 12 16 5 — 55

3-point goals: Hoehler 4, Bianco, Kelly, Reinert, Long; Johnson 6, B. Pelaia 2, K. Pelaia, Donnelly

JV: Mars, 44-33 (M: Jessica Winters 9, Megan Yanief 9)

Monday: Hampton at Butler, Mars at Rochester

John Enrietto

John Enrietto

I graduated with a Journalism degree from Ohio University in 1979. I started at the Eagle on August 24, 1997. My awards include 2nd place in feature writing from Ohio Associated Press (while working for the Steubenville Herald-Star), media award from Lernerville Speedway and 3rd place in a Pennsylvania AP contest for story feature.