INDIANA - Devin Stessney walked off the court Saturday with a smile from ear to ear and took a few sighs of relief.
The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic senior, who came into the Lady Marauders' PIAA Class A quarterfinal game against Clarion averaging 8.6 points per game, nearly doubled that average with a game-high 17 in BG's 45-35 triumph at Ed Fry Arena in the Kovalchick Center.
"Personally, all I could think about was, 'this is not our last game,'" Stessney said. "I had to do whatever I had to do to get us into the next round."
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Devin Stessney led BG with 17 points.
BG will now take on Vincentian Academy in the semifinals Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
The final score was hardly indicative of how close the game was throughout. Bishop Guilfoyle struggled offensively with leading scorers Halee Adams and Kayla Bates in foul trouble and trailed, 30-29, entering the fourth quarter.
"I think about what [Stessney] did against Serra Catholic and how hard she played," Bishop Guilfoyle coach Mark Moschella said. "Sometimes things like that go unnoticed, but she was able to carry that into four solid quarters in this game tonight, and we needed her."
Bates picked up her second foul and exited for the rest of the first half with 6:16 to play in the second quarter and BG up by one. Adams followed her to the bench with a pair of fouls at the 2:05 mark.
Stessney scored the final six points of the half for the Lady Marauders and helped BG take a 22-20 lead into the locker room.
"When Halee and Kayla are out there, they are the leaders," Stessney said. "They take care of the ball, but I have as much experience on the floor as them. I had to take control and take the ball while still getting everyone involved."
Bates returned and began the second half with a layup, but Clarion used a 7-0 run to take a 27-24 lead. During the run, Adams picked up her third foul and was forced to play with less defensive pressure.
"I thought [BG] wore down a little bit," Clarion coach Roger Walter said. "So we started going at them full speed, but then their athleticism kind of got to us."
Adams gave the Lady Marauders a 31-30 lead with a pair of free throws to start the fourth quarter, and it appeared Laken Ganoe put the Lady Bobcats back ahead with a pair of her own. However, after her second shot went through, Clarion was whistled for a lane violation. It was just the start of Clarion's woes at the free-throw line.
Elyssa Ehredt converted her only basket of the game to give Bishop Guilfoyle the lead with 6:12 to play, and Clarion never brought it even again.
Kyla Miles missed a pair of free throws on the Lady Bobcats next possession, and Maci Thorton missed two more with Clarion down four and 3:41 to play.
"The four straight at the end really hurt us," Walter said. "They still didn't hurt as bad as the easy buckets we were giving up on the other end."
Most of those baskets were coming on assists from Adams. The 5-foot-8 senior set up layups by Bates and Stessney after assisting on Ehredt's go-ahead shot.
"As soon as I see someone open, I throw it," Adams said. "Sometimes it gets me into trouble, but I don't like to miss people, because I wouldn't want them to miss me if I was open."
Hannah Wolf brought Clarion within two on a layup with 2:44 left, but following a BG timeout the Lady Marauders went on an 8-0 run to end the game.
"Clarion has a great basketball team, and they played a great game," Moschella said. "We kept our composure, and with a senior group, it's easier to do that. I'm really proud of the resilience we showed tonight."
Adams finished with 12 points, Bates added eight and Brittany Boslet hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Lady Marauders before exiting with 3:28 to play in the third quarter with an injury. Boslet went to the hospital after the game with what she thought may be a broken nose. Moschella was unsure whether Boslet, who underwent several tests at the hospital, would be available for the semifinals on Tuesday.
Ashley Hummell was the only Clarion player to reach double figures in points and finished with 12.
"When Kayla and I are down, or have something else going on, other players need to step up," Adams said. "Devin did tonight, and that was really good for us."
CLARION (35): M. Kroh 2 0-0 4, Miles 2 1-4 5, As. Hummell 5 0-0 12, Thorton 3 2-4 8, Wolf 2 1-2 5, Ganoe 0 1-2 1, G. Kroh 0 1-1 1, Au. Hummell 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 5-11 35.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (45): H. Adams 4 4-4 12, Bates 3 2-2 8, Ehredt 1 0-2 2, Boslet 2 0-0 6, Stessney 6 4-4 17, Miller 0 0-0 0, Craig 0 0-0 0, McGhee 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-12 45.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Clarion10 10 10 5 - 35
Bishop Guilfoyle13 9 7 16 - 45
3-pointers: Clarion 2 (As. Hummell 2). Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Boslet 2, Stessney)
Records: Clarion (25-4); Bishop Guilfoyle (27-2)
Officials: Ricky Tyburski, Bridget Borelli, Felicia Young