Lady Marauders taken out by McCort
The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic girls basketball team entered Saturday’s PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal game on a six-game winning streak in that round of the playoffs.
That run came to an end at the hands of a very familiar foe.
Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference rival Bishop McCort Catholic knocked BG out of the 2A PIAA playoffs with a 46-42 win at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
Tied 23-23 early in the second half, Bishop McCort surged ahead with a 13-5 run and held off the Lady Marauders the rest of the way to advance to the state semifinals.
“Heartbreaking,” Anna Audley said. It was the only word the senior forward could manage following the loss.
Haley Thomas, playing on a badly sprained ankle, led McCort with 14 points, seven of which came during the team’s third quarter surge.
The Saint Francis recruit opened the second half with a layup off a BG turnover before burying a 3-pointer just after Lili Benzel tied the game with an 18-foot jump shot.
It was the final bucket of Benzel’s high school career. The Lady Crushers held the high-scoring guard to seven points using a triangle-and-two and box-and-one defense at different points.
“We thought we’d take (Karis) Taddei out and Benzel out. We come out in the triangle-and-two and had Haley at the top. The problem we had was with (Harlem) Jennings because she wanted to slash, and we were running out at her. She was blowing right past us,” McCort coach John Hahn said. “Usually, we try to take Jennings out and Benzel out. This time we wanted to give them a different look. Then we came back and went into a box-and-one. Just played it straight and had Mach (Machala Gibbons) take care of Lili Benzel. Make her work. Make her work. Make her work.”
Darcy Lee finished one rebound short of a double-double. The senior forward scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jamison Consiglio, starting in the place of an injured Audley, added seven points and six rebounds.
“Darcy did such a good job on both ends of the floor. Jamison came in and did a nice job taking care of an injury to Anna. It was everything I could ask of the team. It’s just a matter of us needing to make a few more plays. We lost to a really good, classy basketball team,” BG coach Mark Moschella said. “It was just one of those days where it wasn’t meant to be. We needed to shoot the ball a little better, obviously. Bishop McCort did a couple more things better than we did.”
Audley, who injured her shoulder in the team’s second-round game, scored six points and pulled down four rebounds off the bench.
The Lady Marauders shot just 32 percent from the floor and 21 percent from 3-point range.
Thomas continued the McCort third quarter run with a pair of free throws. The Lady Crushers also got a pair of layups from Sierra Widmar along with baskets from Aunna Yingling and Isabella Hunt.
“We talked all week long about secondary scoring, especially when Haley had the bad ankle. Everybody else had to pick it up. That’s what you saw (Saturday),” Hahn said. “Sierra Widmar has just been huge on the boards all year. She gives me 110 percent. Bella Hunt came in and was just outstanding. Rebounding, some nice little putbacks, nice little peeps.”
Audley’s lay-in off a feed from Taddei late in the third quarter made it a 36-30 contest, and Lee’s putback early in the fourth quarter trimmed the McCort lead to four, 36-32.
Thomas then went to the bench with four fouls moments later. Widmar quickly followed with her fourth foul as well.
BG couldn’t take advantage, though. The two minutes Thomas and Widmar were on the bench, McCort extended its lead to eight points on foul shots by Gibbons and Clara Wilson.
“At that point in time, they were spreading the floor pretty good, and we were taking chances that normally you don’t take in your normal defenses,” Moschella said. “We were down five or six points at that time and needed to take some chances. It was about trying to get a turnover, and they made some big foul shots at the end.”
BG’s season ended at 22-5. For seniors Benzel, Audley, Lee, Taddei, Kierra Miller and Jordan DeLeo, it was their last game in a Lady Marauders uniform.
“We knew it would be a tough game. It just didn’t finish the way we thought it would,” Benzel said. “I’m just glad all my teammates came together, and we got to come this far.”
Moschella had nothing but praise for what this group of seniors accomplished, not only this season, but throughout their careers.
“I told them there was no other locker room I wanted to be in right now, and how proud I was of everything they did through the entire year. It’s a group that really cares about each other. You can see that their hearts are heavy right now, but they’re not heavy just for themselves. They’re really, really heavy for each other,” he said. “To get to this point is quite an accomplishment. These kids accomplished a lot over the last four years, the ones who will be leaving us. They’ve had a fantastic career. They’ll look back and understand that.”
McCort plays Bellwood-Antis in the PIAA semifinals on Monday.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (42): Consiglio 3 1-1 7, Lee 5 2-2 15, Benzel 3 0-0 7, Taddei 1 0-0 2, Jennings 2 0-2 5, Audley 2 2-2 6, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 5-7 42.
BISHOP MCCORT (46): Gibbons 2 3-4 9, Widmar 4 0-1 8, Thomas 4 4-4 14, Wilson 0 2-2 2, Yingling 2 1-4 6, Hunt 2 0-0 4, Martin 1 0-0 3. Totals — 15 10-15 46.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle 12 9 9 12 — 42
Bishop McCort 13 8 15 10 — 46
3-pointers: Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (Lee 3, Benzel, Jennings); Bishop McCort 6 (Gibbons 2, Thomas 2, Yingling, Martin).
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (22-5); Bishop McCort (24-4).