Wood falls to O’hara in PCL ti­tle game

Public Spirit - - OPINION - By Nick Iuele

ni­uele@mont­gomerynews.

com An above av­er­age of­fen­sive night could have won the game, but un­for­tu­nately for Arch­bishop Wood a com­bi­na­tion of poor shoot­ing and stout Car­di­nal O’Hara de­fense kept the Lady Vik­ings from claim­ing the Philadel­phia Catholic League crown.

The Lady Vik­ings strug­gled to get into an of­fen­sive rhythm and it ended up sink­ing them in their 31-25 loss to O’Hara in Mon­day’s PCL Cham­pi­onship game at the Palestra. Both sides knew they were in for a de- fen­sive bat­tle, as the Lady /LRnV wRn WKH fiUVW PHHWLnJ 30-27 dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. How­ever, although the 2’HDUD GHIHnVH wDV GLI­fiFuOW to break, Wood missed way too many shots and the PCL ti­tle eluded once again.

“[2’HDUD’V@ GHIHnVH LV very, very good, a lit­tle bet­ter than ours, but even when we got open shots we didn’t make them,” Wood coach Jim Ricci said. “I don’t think some of the kids came to play to­day, men­tally or phys­i­cally. There was a cou­ple times when they didn’t really know what they were do­ing, but th­ese are things we work on in prac­tice ev­ery day.”

Wood and O’Hara took turns look­ing un­com­fortDbOH Ln WKH fiUVW KDOI. 2’HDUD started the game by suf­fo­cat­ing Wood, not al­low­ing the Lady Vik­ings past half court IRU WKH fiUVW WwR PLnuWHV of the game. Although the Lady Lions got out to a 7-2 lead, even­tu­ally Wood broke through and got to within three points at the end of the pe­riod, putting O’Hara on its heels. kei­ther team got any­thing go­ing on of­fense in the fiUVW HLJKW PLnuWHV.

“I think that they man­han­dled us early and I don’t know why we wouldn’t be ready for that be­cause that

hap­pened at their gym the fiUVW WLPH wH SODyHd WKHP,” Ricci said. “I don’t know why they thought O’Hara would be less phys­i­cal this time. We weren’t ready to com­pete with them early in the game.”

TKH VHFRnd TuDUWHU yLHOded more of the same as the fiUVW. 2’HDUD VFRUHd IRuU unan­swered points to open the pe­riod, but Wood came VuUJLnJ EDFN Ln WKH finDO IHw min­utes of the half. Madi­son Tam­burini had four of her team-high eight points in the pe­riod as part of the Lady Vik­ings’ 6-0 run, only for WRRd WR OHW uS D finDO 6KDnice John­son lay-in at the buzzer to go into half­time down 15-12. To that point in the game, Wood never really had its of­fense go­ing and was look­ing for an­swers head­ing into the sec­ond half. How­ever, nei­ther team scored dou­ble dig­its in the fiUVW WwR TuDUWHUV.

The lack of scor­ing con- tin­ued in the sec­ond half. This time, how­ever, poor ex­e­cu­tion on of­fense contributed. Al­most ev­ery time a player went to the hole, she was fouled and went to the free-throw line. There were count­less missed shots and it took al­most half the pe­riod for ei­ther team to make D fiHOd JRDO. 2’HDUD dLdn’W make one un­til eight sec­onds re­mained in the third, while the Lady Vik­ings had only one of their own. This game was clearly go­ing to come down to who which team made its free throws and, above all, de­fense. Wood was down just six points KHDdLnJ LnWR WKH finDO TuDUter.

“They gave us a cou­ple chances to get back in, but we missed a lot of layups,” Ricci said. “That’s just a mat­ter of mak­ing shots. It’s not a mat­ter of coach­ing, it’s just be­ing able to func­tion with 6,000 peo­ple in the gym and some of us couldn’t han­dle it.”

Wood had to be op­ti­mistic with the score line the way it was go­ing into the last eight min­utes, but if it was go­ing to lift the tro­phy, it was go­ing to have to start mak­ing bas­kets. The Lady Vik­ings got two early bas­kets from Rachel Day and Aubrey Brown, but they still strug­gled to put the ball in the net on a con­sis­tent ba­sis. It was not as if the Lady Lions were scor­ing much, ei­ther, but they hit foul shots through­out the pe­riod to keep Wood at a dis­tance.

The Lady Lions did not score a sin­gle bas­ket in the IRuUWK TuDUWHU, EuW WKHy KLW nine of 12 free throws and held off Wood for the ti­tle. Although O’Hara con­tin­u­ally left it­self vul­ner­a­ble for a Lady Vik­ing come­back, Wood never obliged and now they must look for­ward to states.

“I told them that they are a much bet­ter team than how they played,” Ricci said. “But on Wed­nes­day we will get back in the gym and start all over again.”

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