York Catholic had dreams of another state title.
But it was a girl heading to South Bend, Ind. that derailed
the Fighting Irish’s chances for another state crown.
Enter Villa Maria Academy’s Kayla McBride.
The junior, a Notre Dame recruit, scored a game-high 20
points and teammate Kaylyn Maruca added 15 points as Villa Maria won the PIAA
Class AA girls’ state title with a five-point victory, 56-51.
York Catholic was down by 18 points in the second half,
but cut the margin to three points late in the game. But the Victors never
allowed the lead to slip – hitting 15-of-20 from the charity stripe in the
contest and connecting on 40 percent of their field goals.
“We got off to a great start," Villa Maria coach Scott
Dibble told the York Daily Record. "We almost fell apart, but our
kids played tremendous in the second half. They didn't want to quit. That just
tells you they have tremendous character. (York Catholic coach) Kevin (Bankos)
does a great job with their program and our kids just stood strong.”
Yet, it was still a tremendous run by the Fighting Irish –
which was going for a consecutive state crown.
YC junior Brittany Hicks did everything in her power to win
the contest. She netted 19 points and capped off the double-double with 12
boards, while sophomore Kady Schrann had a game-high 20 points.
“I don't know if it was so much nerves, but our freshman
weren't ready for the atmosphere and I had some butterflies in my stomach coming
into it just because it's a big venue," Hicks told the newspaper. "I
just don't think we played strong or we came out as quick as we could have, but
we definitely turned it around in the second half.”
Villa Maria led 17-10 after one quarter, took a 32-17 lead
in the locker room and forced 15 turnovers in the first half. But York
Catholic’s defense held the Victors to a mere seven points in the third quarter
to set up a late-game run toward a title.
“They were hesitant," YC head coach Kevin Bankos said to
the York paper. "They didn't look to score and shoot the ball with
confidence like we did against Delone (in Tuesday's PIAA semifinal victory).
Some of that is because Villa's defense was up in our face."
Archbishop Carroll boys make history
The Archbishop Carroll boys basketball team didn’t play the
closest game Friday at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State
But it probably played the most significant.
The Patriots became the first Philadelphia Catholic League
to win a PIAA state title as the team ripped apart Greensburg Salem, 75-54, in
the last game of the quad-header.
Carroll pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring
Greensburg 21-11 and then blew the doors off in the third.
“I can't even explain it right now," Carroll’s Andrew
Wilburn told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "At the beginning of the
season, I told a lot of people this team could really do something."
Four different players netted double digits, led by
Kasheef Festus’ 18 points. DJ Irving added 17, while Juan’ya Green and Wilburn
added 16 and 12, respectively.
Greensburg’s Jake Matthews dropped a game-high 22 through
Probably the team’s biggest win was the quarterfinal victory
over Neumann-Goretti – a squad favored by everyone in the Commonwealth to capture
a state title.
That is, until Archbishop Carroll derailed the train.
"It's the best feeling of my life," Festus told
the newspaper. "I feel as though we just made history.”
O’Hara falls in girls’ AAAA final
Cardinal O’Hara was up against big odds against undefeated
The odds became greater when Vanderbilt recruit Stephanie
Holzer went down with an injury.
Holzer left the game in the third quarter and never
returned, while Mount Lebanon got 21 points from Emily Miller in a 67-58
Holzer had 14 points in 18 minutes before leaving with the
“It happened all too fast to say exactly what
happened," Holzer told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I felt a
really sharp pain. I knew it as soon as the trainer pushed on it. I tried. I
really tried. I couldn't move well at all."
The Blue Devils pulled away in the second half, outscoring
Cardinal O’Hara by four points in each of the final two quarters.
Mount Lebanon, which lost in the state finals to Central
Dauphin last season, finishes the season with a record of 31-0.
“We do feel bad about [Holzer] getting hurt," Mount
Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker told the Philly newspaper. "We would have
preferred that she had stayed in the game. But even with her in there, we
thought we were capable of winning."
Lakeland faces penalty
Lakeland High School has found out its penalty because of
the forfeiture of two basketball games in February.
The District 2 committee has “publicly censured” the school. What that means, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune, is
that the committee strongly disapproved of the action. Lakeland was placed on a
probation period which starts immediately and extends through the 2009-2010
According to the Scranton newspaper, it will not affect
Lakeland’s participation in the postseason, but the school must submitted a
report showing that it won’t happen again.
The violation occurred when the boys basketball team forfeited
a game against West Side Tech, and the girls did the same against Blue Ridge.
Both were playoff contests.
Under district rules, any team can go into the postseason
regardless of record. Both Chief squads were winless in league play. But you
have to declare by a certain date, and Lakeland didn’t.
“We are going to comply with everything that was handed down
and work toward moving forward with our athletic program at Lakeland,”
superintendent Dr. Margaret Billings-Jones told the Times-Tribune.
Tom Fox is Sports Editor at The Lock Haven (Pa.) Express and
covers Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania for MaxPreps.com. He can be
reached at email@example.com