EBENSBURG - There isn't a whole lot that can be done in 48 seconds, but don't try and convince the Northern Cambria's girls basketball team of that.
The Lady Colts erased a 14-9 Bishop Carroll halftime advantage less than one minute into the second half and never relinquished that lead en route to a 29-22 victory in the District 6 Class A semifinals at the Central Cambria High School gymnasium Wednesday night.
"I told the girls at halftime, 'don't panic,'" Northern Cambria coach Eric Thomas said. "We came out and hit a few big shots right off the bat.
Photo for the Mirror by John Tanish
Northern’s Breanna Kochinsky drives on BC’s Katie Wyland.
"I felt like we needed to just come out and get moving. We weren't moving offensively or defensively in that first half, and that was the difference in the second half."
Breanna Kochinsky stole in inbounds pass to open the third quarter and hit a layup to start the spurt. Seconds later, Emily Stiles hit a 3-pointer, and Kochinsky came away with another steal and layup. The 5-foot-6 junior led all scorers with 14 points.
"You can't start the third quarter with turnovers the way we did against that team," Bishop Carroll coach Dan Sammarco said. "It will come back to haunt you, and it did come back. They got the momentum back, and when they get the momentum and get into their style of offense, they beat you."
The Lady Huskies battled and muscled their way to the five-point edge at the break using a tight 2-3 zone that let Northern Cambria shoot open 3-pointers at will but totally shut down the Lady Colts' inside game.
The strategy worked as Northern Cambria went just 1-for-16 from beyond the arc in the first half.
''We knew we weren't playing as good as we should have been,'' Kochinsky said. ''They're a strong team, but we beat them by a lot before, and we knew we shouldn't be down. They were taking out our inside game, and that's usually where we are looking to.''
Mara Weinzierl scored seven of her team-high nine points in the first half while dominating the boards and keeping Northern Cambria out of the paint, but the Lady Colts worked around her while making their run in the third.
Following the seven points in 48 seconds, all on fastbreak points, Stiles hit her second 3-pointer to cap Northern Cambria's 10-0 run and allow the Lady Colts to start milking the clock.
Bishop Carroll remained in its zone and Northern Cambria simply dribbled the time off the clock. Lindsy Sammarco made a jumper at the buzzer of the third quarter to cut Northern Cambria's lead to 24-18, but the Lady Colts outscored the Lady Huskies, 5-4 in the fourth quarter.
Sammarco made Carroll's final basket with 2:35 remaining to cut the Lady Colts' lead to seven, but the Lady Huskies could not capitalize on a turnover, and Northern Cambria dribbled out the final 1:52 on the clock.
Bishop Carroll sent Caroline Repko out to play defense on three Lady Colt guards, but Northern Cambria played keep away.
"They were trying to set some traps for some turnovers," Thomas said. "Usually you would try to extend the game [by fouling], so I'm not quite sure. I guess there are different philosophies in that situation."
Northern Cambria will now take on Bishop Guilfoyle in the District 6 Class A championship game Saturday at IUP's Memorial Field House at 1 p.m. Bishop Carroll, which will advance to the state playoffs regardless of the result in its consolation game, will play Ferndale at Central Cambria High School at 6 p.m. Friday.
BISHOP CARROLL (22): Wyland 1 0-0 2, Crookshank 0 0-0 0, Semelsberger 1 1-2 3, Sammarco 3 0-0 6, Weinzierl 4 1-2 9, Krug 0 0-0 0, Repko 1 0-0 2, Gueguen 0 0-0 0. Totals - 10 2-4 22.
NORTHERN CAMBRIA (29): Kochinsky 6 1-1 14, A. Rocco 2 1-2 5, J. Rocco 0 0-0 0, Dunchack 2 0-0 4, Wolfe 0 0-0 0, Stiles 2 0-0 6. Totals - 12 2-3 29.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Carroll5 9 4 4 - 22
Northern Cambria7 2 15 5 - 29
3-point goals: Northern Cambria 3 (Stiles 2, Kochinsky).
Records: Bishop Carroll (13-12); Northern Cambria (23-1).