Learning as They Go


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Last season, the Old Forge girls basketball team was inexperienced and Taylor Nemetz, a sophomore at the time, said she and her teammates didn't know much about the PIAA Class A girls state playoffs.

They learned fast as they advanced to the PIAA Girls' Class A quarterfinals.

According to Nemetz, when all was said and done, the Lady Devils coaches and players knew they wanted to return and advance further.

Now a junior, Nemetz and her teammates ran Old Forge's record to 25-0 with a 60-26 win over High Point in the first round of state playoffs.

"It feels really good to be undefeated. I think if we had a loss in the regular season it wouldn't have hurt us, we wouldn't be down, but we would have taken that loss and practiced 10 times harder," Nemetz said. "Being on an undefeated team is great motivation and we want to do the impossible and make it all the way with an unbeaten season."

Watching the first-half of their first-round game with High Point on Saturday you could see this was the time of year the Lady Devils were waiting for.

The Lady Devils' defense was suffocating, shutting out High Point for about 12 minutes, including the entire second quarter.

The Lady Devils took a 33-6 lead into halftime and that allowed coach Tom Gatto a chance to rest his starters and get ready for a tough game second round game, which was played on Wednesday night.

"Once we started pressing them and trapping them they didn't handle it," Gatto said. "We opened up the score from there."

Although Old Forge is undefeated Saturday's game was a little different for the Lady Devils. Nemetz said the Lady Devils are normally a second half team, but on Saturday night High Point was the victim of a defensive clinic that took them out of the game early.

"Usually we start of slow and we are more of a second half team," Nemetz said. "But getting that big lead really helped us in the end."

The Lady Devils are a deep team, which has a bunch of players that can score and play strong defense.

Saturday's game was a prime example as several players contributed to the offense production. Lauren Carey led the team with 14 points and was the only Old Forge player in double figures.

Ever since the Old Forge season ended last year the team has been thinking about the potential for what they can accomplish this season.

With solid focus the Lady Devils had an unblemished regular season in a very strong division and continued stellar play through the PIAA District 2 Class A playoffs.

"I think last year we didn't know what state playoffs were because we were a really young team and when we were freshman we didn't make it that far," Nemetz said. "Going that deep and losing that game really made us feel like we want to go further and give the Lady Devils a good name. I think we accomplished that so far this year."

While Old Forge is has been playing well all season the team has to continue to maintain momentum with a lot of days off between playoff games.

"The gap doesn't affect us in a negative way, but it is tough not playing every other day like we normally do," Nemetz said.

Nemetz is key part of the Lady Devils' team this season. Second on the team in points scored and a defensive catalyst, she and several of her basketball teammates are also members of the softball team with great chemistry on and off the court.

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