Wood falls to O’hara in PCL title game
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.”