LORETTO - One minute the Bishop Guilfoyle Lady Marauders were cruising along in their District 6 Class A semifinal playoff game with Ferndale and it appeared that they would be able to name their score.
The next minute they were fighting for their playoff lives.
BG maintained its composure and hung on to beat Ferndale, 47-41, Wednesday night at St. Francis University's DeGol Arena.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bishop Guilfoyle’s Alli Williams scoops up a shot against Ferndale’s Jamie Rosequist on Wednesday at St. Francis.
The Lady Marauders improved to 24-1 and will meet Northern Cambria at 1 p.m. Saturday at IUP for the District 6 Class A championship.
"We missed a lot of easy shots," BG coach Mark Moschella said. "But we stayed together on the floor and kept our composure, and we made our free throws at the end."
The Lady Marauders made just 14-of-47 shots from the field, but that didn't prevent them from getting out to an early lead.
District 6-A, AA finals
CLASS AA at St. Francis University
GIRLS: Southern Huntingdon (1) vs. Bishop McCort (2), 7
BOYS: Cambria Heights (1) vs. Central Cambria (10), 8:30
CLASS A IUP Memorial Field House
GIRLS: Bishop Guilfoyle (1) vs. Northern Cambria (2), 1
BOYS: Bishop Carroll (1) vs. Homer-Center (2), 2:30
BG forced Ferndale into seven first-quarter turnovers, and the Lady Yellow Jackets did not attempt a shot until the 4:35 mark of the first, and BG led 9-0.
To make matters worse for Ferndale, its leading scorer, junior point guard Brittany Eisenhuth, was summoned to the bench with two personal fouls in the game's first 2:15.
"We have had to play catch-up during a lot of games this season," Ferndale coach Gene Slebodnick Jr. said. "Our kids have been pretty consistent keeping with the game, and they don't panic. We had to call a timeout early on and I had to remind them that it is OK to respect them, but don't let them own you. They are just like us."
BG led 12-4 after one, even though leading-scorer Alli Williams was held scoreless.
Williams opened the second quarter with her first basket, and BG maintained its lead at 20-12, but a pair of 3-pointers by April Eisenhuth pulled Ferndale to within four, 22-18, at the half.
"Ferndale has a good basketball team," Moschella said. "They start four seniors, and their leading scorer is a junior. They are a seasoned team, and their point guard [Brittany Eisenhuth] was able to create and get her whole team involved."
BG upped its lead to 10 in the third quarter, 28-18. Ferndale managed to get within six, 30-24, but Kaleigh Floyd drove the length of the court, went through a pair of Ferndale defenders and banked in a runner just before the third-quarter buzzer sounded, and BG led by eight.
A 3-pointer by freshman guard Jillian Kegg got Ferndale to within five, but Floyd came up big again, answering with a 3-pointer of her own to extend BG's lead back to eight, 45-37.
"Floyd has been super for us all year long," Moschella said. "She has the green light to shoot, and she does such a good job of keeping the team together. She hit some big baskets and free throws down the stretch for us."
BG's Tiffany Seasoltz beat her man off the dribble and scored inside to put the Lady Marauders' lead back to 10, 37-27, but Ferndale wasn't ready to roll over just yet.
Brittany Eisenhuth hit 1-of-2 free throws to get Ferndale to within five, and teammate Jamie Rosequist stole the inbounds pass and scored to get it to within three, 40-37, with 1:04 remaining.
BG buried 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to preserve the victory. Williams hit 3-of-4, and Floyd was 4-for-4.
Three of BG's five starters, Floyd, Seasoltz and Shannon Hite, started this season with little or no varsity experience, but the Lady Marauders gelled quickly and have now won 24 out of 25 games and are one win away from another District 6 championship.
"As a coach you do your best," Moschella said. "The kids are a close-knit group, and they understand how to play team offense and defense. They have played hard all year long, and that is all you can ask."
Game notes: Ferndale slipped to 18-6 and will meet Bishop Carroll in the consolation round ... Brittany Eisenhuth led all scorers with 19 points ... Rachel Rea and Floyd paced BG with 12 points apiece, while Williams finished with 11 points ... Hite fouled out with 1:10 remaining ... Ferndale was 14-for-42 from the field and turned the ball over 15 times ... BG committed nine turnovers, five coming in the fourth quarter.
FERNDALE (41): B. Eisenhuth 7 4-6 19, A. Eisenhuth 2 0-0 6, Kohler 0 0-0 0, Rosequist 1 2-2 4, Pudliner 1 1-2 3, Steeves 1 0-0 2, Kegg 2 2-2 7. Totals - 14 9-12 41.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (47): Al. Williams 3 5-9 11, Rea 3 6-8 12, Seasoltz 3 1-2 7, Floyd 3 4-4 12, Hite 1 1-1 3, Stayer 1 0-0 2, Brennan 0 0-0 0. Totals - 14 17-24 47.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ferndale4 14 6 17 - 41
Bishop Guilfoyle12 10 10 15 - 47
3-point goals: Ferndale 3 (A. Eisenhuth 2, B. Eisenhuth); Bishop Guilfoyle 2 (Floyd 2).
Officials: Rex Nahler, Steve Schaaf, Mark Schilling.