GREENSBURG - After squandering a 13-point third-quarter lead in their PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round matchup against Fort Cherry Saturday afternoon, the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic Lady Marauders found their prospects for a third straight appearance in next weekend's state championship game in jeopardy.
Fort Cherry wound up tying the game, 44-44, early in the fourth quarter before BG regained its composure, found its bearings and finished in championship form.
And sophomore guard Halee Adams' record-setting performance was a big reason why.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
The Lady Marauders celebrate their win Saturday, which puts them in Wednesday’s semifinals against Homer-Center.
Adams scored 21 points and broke Alli Williams' single-season BG scoring record in the process, as the Lady Marauders survived the scare and posted a 57-48 victory at Hempfield Area High School.
The Lady Marauders (28-1) carried the fourth quarter, 17-11, to hold off their pesky opponents, and advance to Wednesday's semifinal-round game against Homer-Center at a site and time to be determined.
Homer-Center, which lost to BG, 47-35, in this year's District 6-A championship game, moved on to the semis with a 55-48 win over Pittsburgh North Catholic Saturday in a contest that preceded BG's game at Hempfield High School.
BG coach Mark Moschella lauded his players for keeping their cool after Fort Cherry had battled back.
"I thought our kids kept their composure,'' Moschella said. 'They might have been shaken up a little, but I thought they played a great game.''
Adams has now scored 600 points this season, and she eclipsed Williams' single-season record of 593 set last year when she scored a field goal on a layup late in the third quarter. Adams scored on a pass from sophomore forward Elyssa Ehredt to break the single-season scoring record of Williams, who led BG to three PIAA championships in the last four seasons before moving on to play Division I college basketball at St. Francis University.
"It means a lot to me,'' Adams said of setting the record. "I've worked really hard, and I'm glad it actually paid off in the end.''
Ehredt added 15 points and pulled down 17 rebounds for BG, which also got 11 points from sophomore guard Kayla Bates.
Senior forward Kelsey Livoti's field goal early in the third quarter put BG ahead, 33-20, and it appeared that a rout was in the making. Fort Cherry (24-5), the District 7 runners-up, had other ideas, though.
Junior guard Rebekah Bellhy, who led all scorers with 27 points, scored 12 in the third period to pull the Lady Rangers to within two points, 40-38 at the end of three quarters.
"I think we were pushing them and playing as hard as we could,'' Bellhy said. "I think we played pretty hard. We'll be back next year.''
Fort Cherry came all the way back in Saturday's game, only to be overcome by BG in the later stages of the fourth quarter. A three-point play by freshman Rachel Bellhy - Rebekah's younger sister - tied the game, 44-44 early in the fourth. Rachel Bellhy scored in traffic underneath the basket, and cashed the free throw after she was fouled on the play.
BG responded when Ehredt, a constant presence in the paint all day, grabbed the rebound off her own missed shot, scored a basket, and added a free throw after she was fouled on the play, giving BG the lead for good, 47-44.
"Number 5 [Ehredt] got a putback, and that kind of knocked the wind out of us,'' Fort Cherry coach Bob Miles said. "I thought our girls played hard, and that overall, this was a good learning experience for us. That's been the personality of our girls all year - to never quit.''
BG simply had more steam down the stretch, scoring 10 of the game's last 14 points. Adams hit a couple consecutive field goals -- first converting a feed from Ehredt and then scoring on a move from underneath the basket - to give BG some breathing room and a 51-46 lead with 2:55 left. Livoti's two foul shots with 1:04 remaining put the Lady Marauders ahead, 53-46, and the game on ice.
"We were kind of getting ahead of ourselves at one point today, but we all calmed down and picked it up,'' Adams said.
Although they beat Homer-Center earlier this season, BG won't make the mistake of looking past the semifinal matchup toward next Saturday's state championship game.
"This is a completely new game,'' Adams said of Wednesday's semifinal. "They're a really good team, and we know they're going to be out to beat us. We have to be ready.''
BISHOP GUILFOYLE CATHOLIC (57): Bates 4 2-2 11, Adams 7 7-10 21, Stessney 0 0-1 0, Ehredt 5 5-7 15, Livoti 2 3-5 8, Meck 1 0-0 2, Kerr 0 0-0 0. Totals - 19 17-25 57.
FORT CHERRY (48): Merckle 1 2-6 5, Rebekah Bellhy 11 3-4 27, McGivern 0 0-0 0, Gasbarra 1 1-1 3, Splinden 0 0-0 0, Slates 3 0-0 8, Rachel Bellhy 2 1-1 5. Totals - 18 7-12 48.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle17 10 13 17 - 57
Fort Cherry11 6 21 11 - 48
3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 2 (Bates, Livoti); Fort Cherry 5 (Rebekah Belhy 2, Slates 2, Merckle).
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (28-1); Fort Cherry (24-5).
Officials: Terri Piatek, Bill Antesberger, Tracy Cornelius.