PHILADELPHA >> Katie May admittedly took a bit of a chance.
The Archbishop Wood senior had been called for a travel on an up-and-under post move in the first half, but with her team down a point late in the fourth quarter, she had to score. May went for it, shot-faked the defender and deposited the go-ahead hoop with 35.8 seconds left.
Her gamble paid off and the Vikings claimed a 47-44 win over Red Bank Catholic of New Jersey as part of the Blue Chip Basketball Showcase on Sunday afternoon at Jefferson University.
“I had my back to the basket, where in the previous quarter, I was facing it and had made two moves in a row,” May said. “I was still really scared they were going to call it a walk but thankfully they didn’t. I tried to keep it a little more simple.”
It’s been the usual grueling start to the season for Wood, which jumps right into the thick of Philadelphia Catholic League play this week. While there are a lot of new faces in the lineup, it’s still familiar Wood basketball with rigid defense and lots of ball movement on offense leading the way.
Despite being down at the half, Wood (6-2, 2-0 PCL) leaned on its defense to slow down the Caseys. Wood started well, leading 13-7 after the first quarter by attacking the basket and sharing the ball, with six different players scoring in the frame.
Red Bank Catholic then took advantage in the second quarter, burning Wood’s press several times and generating plenty of drive-and-kick looks. The New Jersey state champs were feeling it too, knocking down four 3-pointers in a three minute span to take the lead.
“That was my fault on the press, we probably should have taken it off sooner. We were chasing and not doing a good job of keeping them in front,” Wood coach Mike McDonald said. “We started chasing them, then we had to help and they were kicking out to open shooters and we knew they could shoot. They didn’t really miss, but we took off the press so we had more people able to help.”
The Caseys built a 31-22 lead early in the third quarter, but with Wood settling into more halfcourt sets defensively, the Vikings started getting stops and started scoring on the other end. After Red Bank shot 5-of-7 on 3-point shots in the first half, the Vikings held the Garden State squad to 1-of-9 from deep in the second half.
May and Bridget Arcidiacono hit threes to kick off a 14-5 run that closed the third quarter. Freshman guard Kaitlyn Orihel provided the exclamation point, burying a straightaway trey at the horn, knotting the game at 36-36.
May, who was named the game’s MVP, certainly hadn’t been quiet the first three quarters but stepped her game up a level in the final frame. The senior, a Northeastern recruit, scored seven of her 13 points in the final frame including the eventual game-winning bucket.
“She’s had that role for two years now,” McDonald said. “I went inside to her a couple times late and during the game, she was scoring necessarily but she kicks it out and we have plenty of kids who can shoot the ball. She’s the one we want with the ball touching her hands, we want to run as many possessions through her as we can.”
Orihel, who posted 10, had six points in the crucial third quarter rally, pacing the host of players either new to the team or seeing increased roles finding ways to contribute. Junior guard Annie Whalen is another new addition after transferring from Villa Joseph Marie and she chipped in eight points, including a clutch three in the fourth that gave Wood a 41-38 lead.
When it was time, the ball found its way into May’s hands. The senior, who also posted seven boards, four rebounds, two steals and a block, scored with 3:16 left to cut Red Bank’s lead to 44-43, then put in the winner two-and-a-half minutes later.
“I think I can get the ball and either kick it out to our really good shooters or try and score,” May said. “They were a little bit smaller than me, so I was able to make some post moves.”
Wood is off a strong start this season, winning its first two games in the She Got Game Classic in Washington D.C. The Vikings went 1-3 at the Tournament of Champions in Arizona, but played some absolute powerhouse teams that McDonald and May said had players 6-foot-5 or taller and guards going to some top-tier Division I programs.
Outside of May and Arcidiacono, both starters all the way through last season, senior Erin Morgan and juniors Mia Andrews and Ryleigh Parsons saw a lot of varsity minutes with senior Nicky Greenberg also playing in a majority of the Vikings’ games. Outside that group, it’s a pretty new group but a very deep one.
“I think you have to figure out a rotation that’s getting kids at their most confident level and we’re working on that and looking for some kids to be a little more consistent,” McDonald said. “You expect a little inconsistency with the kids that haven’t played as much. The last few years, we had kids who played at least three years.”
Wood hosts Neumann-Goretti on Tuesday in a pivotal early-season PCL game.
“The girls who haven’t played as much are really picking it up and I think we’re moving the ball well and really knocking down shots,” May said. “They’re understanding the Wood motto and what it is to play Wood basketball.”
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 47, RED BANK CATHOLIC 44
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 13 9 14 11 – 47
RED BANK CATHOLIC 7 20 9 8 – 44
Archbishop Wood: Katie May 5 1-2 13, Bridget Arcidiacono 2 1-3 6, Mia Andrews 1 2-2 5, Annie Whalen 2 3-4 8 Kaitlyn Orihel 2 5-10 10, Nicky Greenberg 1 0-1 2, Liz Fasti 1 0-0 3, Erin Morgan 0 0-2 0. Nonscoring: Ryleigh Parsons, Noelle Baxter. Totals: 14 12-24 47.
Red Bank Catholic: Sabino 1 0-0 2, Rice 2 5-5 9, Moore 5 0-0 14, Caverly 2 6-6 10, Hart 1 3-3 6, Eggenschweiler 1 0-0 3. Totals: 12 14-14 44.
3-pointers: AW – May 2, Arcidiacono, Andrews, Orihel, Fasti; RBC – Moore 4, Hart, Eggenschweiler.
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