You can always count on Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and Delone Catholic meeting for the championship of the Jim Ellis Shootout.
Well, almost always.
When the state small school girls basketball powerhouses hooked up in Saturday afternoon's title tilt, it marked the fifth straight year and sixth time in the last seven the two met with the tournament crown on the line.
BG kept the championship trophy at home this time, holding off the Squirettes, 49-42, at the Pleasant Valley gym.
"It was a good win against a quality team," BG coach Mark Moschella said.
"The difference between this year's [championship] game and last year was their outside shooting," Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode said.
BG jumped out to a 19-12 lead in the first quarter Saturday as Devin Stessney and Halee Adams combined for all 19 points.
Delone started the game in a zone and Stessney hit 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc in the opening quarter. Adams opened the game with a trey and added a putback and a layup off a steal before the first quarter ended.
"It seemed like we did just enough in the first quarter, with the big start from Devin [Stessney]," Moschella said. "It was real big and might have got them out of a zone, but he [Eckenrode] knew he had to stay patient."
Stessney, who finished with 15 points and was named to the all-tournament team, took advantage of Delone's zone.
"They were just falling, I guess," Stessney said of her 3-point barrage in the first quarter. "I was feeling it."
Stessney wasn't surprised Delone was able to stay close most of the game.
"They're a good team, but we were ready for them," she added.
Delone didn't have the quickness or athletes to play BG straight up.
"We didn't think we could match up, especially with [Elyssa] Ehredt, Adams and [Kayla] Bates off the dribble," Eckenrode said, "so that's why we played a zone.
"They shot the ball well the first half, and that was the difference in the game - their outside shooting," said Eckenrode, a 1969 Bishop Guilfoyle grad who has won three PIAA Class AA state championships during his 14-year career at Delone.
Although BG led from the first quarter, the Squirettes wouldn't go away, and stayed within striking distance most of the time.
The Marauders got a key 3-pointer from Brittany Boslet to end the third quarter, and take a 42-34 advantage into the final eight minutes.
"That was a big shot from Brittany to end the third quarter," Moschella said, "but we just couldn't seem to put them away.
"We couldn't knock them out, and that's a tribute to how good they are."
Delone used its size advantage to control the boards, although Moschella thought his club did a better job in the second half when he switched Adams inside.
Adams converted two free throws to make it a 10-point spread [44-34] with 2:35 left, and the Marauders sank five free ones in the final 64 seconds to seal it.
Adams finished with a game-high 21 points [16-of-23 free throws] and was named tournament MVP for the second time in three years.
"All in all, I thought we kept our composure," Moschella said after the Lady Marauders improved to 9-1.
Eckenrode also was pleased, even though the Squirettes fell to 7-2.
"I thought we played well," said Eckenrode. "Even though we have a lot of seniors, we're still a young team.
"Mark [Moschella] did a great job," Eckenrode continued. "They held the ball on us [early in the fourth quarter], but I wanted to shorten the game. I figured our best chance to win was at the end of the game.
"I was pleased with the effort. We had some opportunities, but we just lost to a great basketball team," Eckenrode added.
Game notes: Besides Adams and Stessney, other all-tourney picks included BG's Boslet, Delone's Bethany Ball, Maddie Comly and Abbey Sponseller and Bishop Walsh's Ally Simpson. ... BG's Ehredt won the hustle award. ... Lady Marauders return to action at Penn Cambria next Friday.
DELONE CATHOLIC (42): Comly 3 6-6 12, Gingrow 3 1-2 7, Sponseller 4 0-0 10, Ball 3 0-0 6, Mall 2 0-0 4, Ugarte 0 0-0 0, Becker 0 1-2 1, Wilson 0 2-2 2, Durbin 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Laughman 0 0-0 0. Totals - 15 10-12 42.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE CATHOLIC (49): Ehredt 0 1-2 1, Bates 2 0-0 5, Boslet 1 2-2 5, Stessney 5 1-2 15, H. Adams 4 12-17 21, Miller 1 0-0 2, Craig 0 0-0 0. Totals - 13 16-23 49.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Delone Catholic12 12 10 8 - 42
Bishop Guilfoyle19 12 11 7 - 49
3-point goals: Delone 2 (Sponseller 2); Bishop Guilfoyle 7 (Stessney 4, Bates, Boslet, Adams).
Officials: Thompson, Searer, Heider.
Records: Delone Catholic (7-2); Bishop Guilfoyle (9-1).