PHILADELPHIA >> There was one stat that really stood out in the Archbishop Wood girls basketball team’s game Friday night.
The Vikings attempted 15 free throws in the game, about an average number and not surprising since they led almost the entire game. Their opponent, Mastery Charter North, attempted 33 foul shots.
What the Pumas couldn’t do was take advantage of them, sinking just 15-of-33. Thanks to that, and some timely offense from Shannon May, Wood managed to get out of Father Judge with a 54-43 win and the District 12-5A title.
“I know I was getting frustrated and I’m sure the rest of the team was getting frustrated when you think you’re staying straight up and not getting the calls,” May said. “You have to push through because it happens some games. Refs are going to call fouls you don’t agree with and if you complain, you’re going to go downhill from there.”
May scored 19, a new career-high for her in a game where Wood did not play its best basketball, fouls aside. Cassie Sebold added 11, six of them coming at the foul line in the fourth quarter where the Vikings took 13 of their 15 attempts, and Katie May had eight to pace Wood offensively.
Prior to the start of the fourth quarter, Mastery Charter North had taken 21 free throws while Wood had attempted just two, with Katie May earning a trip to the line in the second quarter. In the first half, it was Pumas guards Alanis Hill and Nahemiah Johnson drawing the bulk of the fouls, both leaving Wood defenders reaching in to get the calls.
“We just have to stay mentally tough and strong with the ball,” Wood coach Mike McDonald said. “Luckily we put the ball in the basket more times and we had a nice little lead. They also weren’t able to capitalize on foul shots. We’ll work on defense and make sure we’re keeping our hands off and go from there.”
McDonald was tagged with a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing the free throw disparity.
Wood also had to overcome Mastery Charter North on the boards and the loss of Bridget Arcidiacono in the first half. With regards to Arcidiacono, the junior forward went down with 5:24 left in the first quarter after helping cause a turnover. She needed help off the court with a lower leg injury and McDonald wasn’t sure of her status going forward.
In her stead, Wood turned to Erin Morgan and Mia Andrews off the bench. Andrews, who hasn’t played the last few games, chipped in seven points and May praised the sophomore for not complaining about playing time and being ready when her team needed her.
“That was huge for her to come in and knock down a couple shots,” May said. “She also played great defense on their bigs and got some rebounds for us.”
Morgan, who ended fouling out, played above her average in minutes and also helped out on offense with four points and on the glass with five boards and a block.
“Great minutes from her,” McDonald said. “We’re going to want Arch back, but Erin really played well.”
Mastery Charter North was giving Wood fits on the backboard in the first half and May said the Viking players had to realize they couldn’t just stand there and think the ball was going to fall to them. Instead, they had to be more physical in blocking out and the guards had to drop in and help against the taller Puma interior players.
Wood led 28-19 at half and put together a solid third quarter on both ends of the floor. The Vikings held the Pumas to just five points in the frame, with MCN taking just four foul shots while Wood scored 12, half coming from May.
The senior, who is playing at USciences next season, just kept finding herself open and knocked down a pair of corner 3-pointers to help Wood build its lead to 40-24 after three.
“Shannon’s a spark,” McDonald said. “When you’re down, she’ll pick you up and when you’re up, she’s up there with you. She just has a ton of energy, plays hard every day at practice and in every game. When you need points, she puts points in. When you need a steal, she gets a steal. When you need a rebound, she’ll go get a rebound. She has the biggest heart you can ask a player to have.”
After losing to Cardinal O’Hara in Monday’s PCL final, the Vikings wanted to get back on the right track before the state tournament begins next Saturday. To do that, they had to close the game at the line and went 12-of-13 from the stripe in the fourth quarter.
The win handed the seniors their fourth-straight district title.
“I’m not going to lie, before our coaches said it earlier this week, I would have known if someone had asked but I wasn’t really thinking about it,” May said. “It’s pretty cool, not a lot of people can say that. We kind of take it for granted because we’re so focused on a PCL championship and state championship but it’ll be cool to be able to look back on it one day and know we won four in a row.”
Archbishop Wood 54, Mastery Charter North 43
Archbishop Wood 12 16 12 14 – 54
Mastery Charter North 9 10 5 14 – 43
Archbishop Wood: Shannon May 7 2-2 19, Cassie Sebold 2 6-7 11, Katie May 2 4-4 8, Karly Brown 1 0-0 3, Mia Andrews 2 2-2 7, Erin Morgan 2 0-0 4, Lindsay Tretter 1 0-0 2. Nonscoring: Bridget Arcidiacono, Meg Neher, Ryleigh Parsons. Totals: 17 14-15 54.
Mastery Charter North: Hill 2 7-9 11, Mazyck 2 2-5 7, Johnson 4 0-2 8, Terry 1 3-8 5, Byers 2 0-0 4, Jackson 2 3-7 8, Pugh 0 0-2 0. Totals: 13 15-33 43.
3-pointers: AW – S May 3, Sebold, Brown, Andrews; MCN – Jackson, Mazyck.