PORTERSVILLE – Coming off two of the most successful seasons in program history, the bar for the 2019-20 Portersville Christian School girls’ varsity basketball team was already set extremely high.
Not only did the 2019-20 Warriors reach that high bar this season, they eclipsed it, becoming the first team in school history to capture the 8-team Division II championship at the National Christian School Athletic Association Tournament in Mount Vernon, Ohio in early March.
PCS, led by sixth-year head coach Dr. Mike McDonald of Slippery Rock and assisted by former PCS basketball standout Olivia Green (Slippery Rock/former Grove City College track & field athlete), finished the campaign with an overall record of 27-5, including an unbeaten league record for the 3rd straight year and 3rd consecutive South Western Christian Athletic Conference tournament title.
McDonald is the son of longtime former Edinboro University athletic director and men’s basketball coach Jim McDonald and has a medical practice in the Slippery Rock area.
The Warriors’ lone loss at the NCSAA National Tournament in Ohio was to eventual NCSAA Division I national champion Gateway Legacy Academy from Missouri.
The outstanding PCS record in the 2019-20 season came against the strongest schedule the program has played to date.
The Warriors finished the regular season with a 7-4 record against non-SWCAC competition, including victories over District 10 playoff teams Gen. McLane (Class 4A), Fort LeBoeuf (3A), and Commodore Perry as well as WPIAL playoff contender Aquinas Academy. Other wins over area public schools came against Wilmington, Rocky Grove and Jamestown.
Leading the PCS offensive attack was 6-foot senior center Julia Mangiapane, who concluded her dominating scholastic career as a 4-time SWCAC league MVP and first-team all-conference selection. Mangiapane averaged 21.1 points and 16 rebounds per game as a senior, finishing as one of the greatest players in school history with career totals of 1,947 points and 1,479 rebounds.
Mangiapane was joined on the All-SWCAC first team by freshman point guard standout Camdyn Cole, as both were also named NCSAA national tournament all-stars. Cole averaged 10 points and 3.5 assists per game in her first varsity campaign at Portersville. She is a former Pennsylvania state champion and national qualifier in the Elks Hoop Shoot competition.
Other key contributors to the Warriors’ effort included junior shooting guard Emma Van Gent (New Wilmington), who led the team with 4 steals per game as the team’s defensive stopper, junior center Noelle Ledford, and forward Molly Castina, both of whom averaged 8 rebounds per game.
Other Mercer County area players included junior Madison Dickson of New Wilmington and sophomore Katie Hurst of Mercer.