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Penn College Basketball Teams Set for Playoff Action

Pennsylvania College of Technology women’s and men’s basketball teams, as the Nos. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively, enter the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs with their work cut out.

The Lady Wildcats will host Penn State Greater Allegheny at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bardo Gym, while the Penn College men travel to Penn State Abington for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off Monday.

First-round game winners advance to the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State’s main campus where the semifinals are scheduled for March 7 and the championship March 8.

Women“We’ve had a lot of tough games this semester, and we need to be more consistent. When they play like they know to play, we definitely are a championship team,” first-year coach Alison Tagliaferri said.

“We think that we can pretty much score at will, but we’re trying to get them to understand that the defensive end of the floor is what creates the offense. They have it in them, they just need to take it to the next level,” the coach continued.

While racking up a 17-8 overall record (12-4 in the conference), the Lady Wildcats have scored an average of 67 points per game and allowed 53. Penn College finished second in the North Division.

“I’m trying to get them fired up. I truly believe there hasn’t been a team (in the conference) that beat us; the games that we lost we’ve kind of beat ourselves. I have four seniors “¦ and I really would like to get them another home game. That would be a great way to send them off; to go down to the Bryce Jordan Center to have them end their careers,” Tagliaferri continued.

Penn College starters are forward Erica Logan (freshman/Montoursville), center Amanda Ault (junior/Milan), forward Jessica Strasser (sophomore/Hawley), guard Meagan Morris (sophomore/Herndon, Va.) and guard Danielle Trout (freshman/Linglestown). Logan and Ault are averaging in double figures, according to their coach.

In an early-season game at Greater Allegheny, the Lady Wildcats won, 64-49.

“We’re just trying to take it one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves too much,” Tagliaferri said.

“Every team improves as the season goes on and we definitely will not overlook them (Greater Allegheny). We’re going to have to come out with our “˜A’ game regardless of who we’re playing. Any team can beat any team on any given night,” she added.

Men “That was the goal that we wanted to accomplish,” coach Gene Bruno, in his 12th season, said of reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The Wildcats finished second in the North Division.

Although the playoff game is still a few days away, and with a game at Penn State Brandywine looming tonight (Friday), Bruno said fatigue could play a factor at Abington, a team it lost to at home on Feb. 9, 75-66.

“We’re on the road at their place. “¦ It’s an uphill battle. There’s no question about that,” Bruno said. Commenting on the earlier loss to Abington, the coach said, “We played about as well as we can play. We played real good defensively, and they had a cold night coming off that bus. The trip is always a factor.”

Starters for the Wildcats, who were 9-16 overall and 8-8 in the conference before Friday’s game, will be guards Joe Simon (sophomore/Renovo), Kyle Klunk (freshman/Hanover) and Craig Flint (junior/Port Allegany) and forwards Tom Little (junior/Beacon Falls, Conn.) and Greg Solyak (freshman/Lancaster).

Flint and Simon each are averaging about 12 points per game and Little 10. Penn College is averaging 73 points per game on offense for the year and allowing 80.3.

“It’s been a year where we’ve lost two league games by two points and two by six points. It’s youth. It’s growing pains. The inconsistency shows the youth, that’s the big thing. That’s why I think it’s so nice to get them exposed (to the playoffs), go on the road and do what we have to do.

“If everybody stays afloat, like I think they will, it’s just going to pay dividends down the road,” Bruno said, adding, “It’s always good to be in (the playoffs).”

( Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site.)

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