SIDMAN - Bishop Guilfoyle went to Forest Hills High School on Monday night expecting the kind of battle the Laurel Highlands Conference girls' basketball rivals have come to expect in recent years.
The Marauders opened up an 11-point lead and went on to hold off the Rangers, 50-46. Bishop Guilfoyle won its 16th consecutive game, and opened up a two-game lead on Forest Hills in the section.
"It's big for us," Bishop Guilfoyle coach Mark Moschella said, "because it solidifies, hopefully, our section [lead]. ... It also sets us up for the seedings at districts.
"But, most importantly, [it's good] to be able to have an opportunity to play a team as good as Forest Hills. And I hope they feel the same way. It's only going to make us both better in the playoffs."
"It's a great opportunity for us to get ready for the playoffs," Forest Hills coach Carol Cecere said. "That's a great team and my hat's off to them. They'll get us ready for the playoffs."
Unlike, for example, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry, the Bishop Guilfoyle-Forest Hills rivalry is driven by respect, not mutual contempt.
"It is a great rivalry, but one of respect," Cecere said. "It's not a blood kind of rivalry. It's more [like] we respect each other and know the other's capabilities and their qualities."
Bishop Guilfoyle erased an early 2-0 deficit by going on a 9-0 run to start the game. The Marauders assumed an 18-7 lead when Brittany Boslet hit one of her two 3-pointers with less than 20 seconds to play in the opening period. Forest Hills then clawed back into contention to pare the difference to 25-19 at halftime. Amanda Meier's put-back tied the score at 32 entering the final period.
"When you come to Forest Hills, you always figure you're going to be in a good game because the coaching staff does a great job and they have a team that is hard to defend," Moschella said.
Caitlyn Gallaher's lay-in off a steal by Marlee Zubek tied the score at 34-34 with 5:43 to play in the final period. But Halee Adams hit a turnaround jumper and Kristen Miller contributed her only basket of the night to put Bishop Guilfoyle back on top by four with 3:36 to go. Kayla Bates hit both ends of free-throw opportunities on two occasions 1:05 apart to put the Marauders ahead, 46-39, with 1:14 remaining.
"They're a quality team," Cecere said. "And I thought we played very well against them."
The second half largely belonged to Bates. She led Bishop Guilfoyle with 13 points, including eight in the final period. Bates hit all eight free throws.
"Kayla did a really outstanding job in the fourth quarter. Really in the second half I thought she really stood out," Moschella said. "She did a good job of taking care of the ball, finding open people. And when they put her to the foul line she did an exceptional job."
Zubek led all scorers with 14 points.
Bishop Guilfoyle (50): Ehredt 4 2-2 10, Bates 2 8-8 13, Boslet 3 0-0 8. Stessney 2 3-4 7, Adams 4 2-5 10, Miller 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 15-19 50.
Forest Hills (46): Cai. Gallaher 4 2-3 10, Cas. Gallaher 3 1-1 8, Meier 3 2-2 8, Zubek 5 1-2 14, Swanson 1 0-0 2, Scott 1 1-2 4. Totals 17 7-10 46.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
3-point field goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Boslet 2, Bates), Forest Hills 5 (Zubic, Cas. Gallaher, Scott).
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (18-1, 8-0 LHAC Section 1), Forest Hills (15-4, 6-2 LHAC Section 1).
Officials: Dan Fletcher, Craig Sipos, Keith Fry.
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 40-35. High scorers: Sciponi, BG, 12; Richards, FH, 11.