T-D HS Basketball

Portage girls ready for 6-A final

By: Shawn Curtis

Another year older. Another year wiser. Another District 6 Class A championship game.
It’s where the Portage Mustangs wanted to be after tasting the limelight last year at St. Francis University.
The 23-1 Mustangs will get another shot at joining the region’s girls basketball royalty when they face second-seeded Bishop Guilfoyle at 7 p.m. tonight.
Bishop Guilfoyle handed the Mustangs a 61-36 loss in last year’s 6-A title game.
“We lost last year,” Portage coach Lance Hudak said. “We talked in the locker room after that and our goal was to get back this year and we’re there. We’re going in a year older, more confident and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Since falling to Penn Cambria in the championship of the Art Burkett Memorial Tournament on Dec. 8, Portage has reeled off 22 straight wins and claimed a second straight WestPAC championship when it topped District 5-A runner-up Shade 64-41 on Feb. 15.
Last year, Portage claimed the WestPAC title and advanced to the state tournament. This year, they’ve followed a similar path.
“It’s cliche and all, there’s so much to say for experience and being in those big games,” Hudak said.
 “Last year walking into Stokes, there was a little deer-in-headlights reaction in addition to having to play a Guilfoyle team that was very good. With the WestPAC championship game last year, being in the district championship and state tourney, this core has been in those. You’re just a little more at ease, it’s not that frightening, you’ve been there ... I think we’re going to go in more concentrated on basketball than the whole spectacle of the atmosphere.”
While seniors Olivia McCabe and Emily Chobany have been huge parts of the Mustangs’ rise to back-to-back 6-A title game appearances, sophomore Lexi Wozniak has emerged as a third scoring threat for Portage, joining McCabe and Chobany at the top of the team’s scoring list.
McCabe averages 14.5 points  and 10.5 rebounds while Wozniak averages 13.1 points per contest. Chobany, the team’s leader in assists with 3.9 per game, scores 12.3 points per game.
The Marauders (19-5) have won six of their last seven, dropping the LHAC championship game to Westmont Hilltop on Feb. 15.

Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.