WARMINSTER >> Put the ball in Katie May’s hands and good things usually tend to follow.
With Archbishop Wood our of sorts for most of the third quarter in Friday night’s game with Archbishop Carroll, the Vikings got the ball to their senior captain, who in turn found Mia Andrews for a pair of huge buckets. In the next quarter, May scored six of her team-high 11 points to prevent another Patriots run from happening.
Wood put the ball in May’s hands and it got the Vikings a 47-34 victory in a game crucial not only in PCL but District 12 5A standings.
“We got the ball in Katie May’s hands, she touched the ball a little bit more and she can just facilitate,” Wood coach Mike McDonald said. “Her game is not to go really fast, so she’s able to handle and protect the ball and with her size, she’s able to see over the defense. Even though she’s getting doubled, she has the strength to step through or make passes over the top.
“When somebody’s open and the defense is rotating, she knows the next pass to make.”
May, who is committed to play next year at Northeastern, shot 4-of-5 from the floor, posted six rebounds, dished five assists and pocketed three steals. The Vikings played about as a good a first half as they possibly could have, building an early advantage and playing stifling defense.
Wood scored the first eight points of the game, and after Carroll’s Molly Masciantonio hit a three, the Vikings scored the next seven and led 15-3 with 1:43 left in the first quarter. Carroll also committed four first-quarter turnovers, which coupled with a cold offense, did not lead to a promising start.
“They made shots to start the game where we missed shots, you dig yourself in a big hole and now you’re trying to battle back into the game,” Carroll coach Renie Shields said. “They’re a good team, well-drilled and just very skilled.”
Wood was especially aware of Masciantonio, the Patriots’ sharpshooting senior guard and gave her plenty of defensive attention. Masciantonio finished with a game-high 13 points with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal but didn’t have a lot of room to work with.
The Vikings put Kaitlyn Orihel, May and Nicole Greenberg, just returned from a hand injury, on Masciantonio throughout the game. Greenberg scored four points as well but was very solid defensively.
“The first half couldn’t have gone any better for us,” McDonald said. “Molly got some open looks but luckily for us she didn’t hit a lot of them.”
The Vikings took a 29-13 lead into the break, closing the second quarter on an 11-2 run after Carroll had cut the lead to 18-12 with 4:55 left in the half.
Out of the break, Carroll went to a full-court pressure defense and it had plenty of success. Wood, which only turned the ball over once in the first half, coughed it up six times in the third and scored just one point over the opening 1:10 of the quarter.
Harlem Jennings scored seven points in the frame for Carroll, which chopped Wood’s lead down to 30-25 on Masciantonio’s score with 1:39 remaining.
“We were down and had to bring some more energy into the second half,” Shields said. “We were able to get Wood to turn the ball over and we scored a lot more. I always say you can’t get your energy from your offense, you have to get it from your defense and that helped us.”
With the Vikings struggling, May got the ball and found Andrews on a cut for a layup with 1:08 left in the third. After forcing a stop with about 10 seconds left, May crossed the timeline and darted a pass to Andrews on the left wing, who knocked down a three just ahead of the horn to put Wood up 35-25.
“When we were breaking the press, we were taking shots right away instead of slowing down and running our offense so I felt like if we slowed the game down and made it the tempo we want, we’d be fine,” May said. “I feel like Mia is always making buzzer-beater threes and if they leave her open, I know she’s going to knock it down.”
Andrews broke into the rotation in the second half of the season last year and has shown a knack for hitting big baskets at big times for Wood, especially in the latter half of games. The junior finished with eight points all after halftime.
“I knew Katie was passing it to me and I just had to shoot it,” Andrews said. “I heard my coaches say “Mia, you got it, just shoot it.’ It was very exciting.”
After knocking down the wing trey to end the third quarter right in front of Wood’s bench, Andrews turned and let out a loud yell of celebration as her teammates joined in.
“It’s all thanks to my teammates for getting me the ball, but it was a lot of fun,” Andrews said. “It’s just practice, I practice for it every single day. That’s all it is.”
May buried a three of her own to open the fourth quarter, then matched an Erin Sweeney stick-back with a score of her own as Wood continued to stand firm on its lead. The senior found Andrews for another bucket with 1:30 left in the game, putting the Vikings up 46-30 and essentially ending any hope for a late Carroll rally.
Since losses to Neumann-Goretti on Jan. 9 and Sanford (DE) on Jan. 14, the Vikings have been playing well, topping Cardinal O’Hara and Bonner-Prendie in PCL play prior to Friday’s game. They have another big 5A test next when they host Archbishop Ryan, but the Ragdolls have to get past Carroll first in a Tuesday matchup.
May attributed the recent success to team chemistry and said it was a matter of time with the team’s younger players finding their best ways to contribute. Wood puts the ball in May’s hands and good things happen, usually because of all those players around her.
“It says they have a lot of toughness and a great mindset,” May said. “If they miss a good shot, they’re going to play good defense on the next possession. They’re all doing that really well.”
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 47, ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 34
ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 5 8 12 9 – 34
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 15 14 6 12 – 47
Archbishop Carroll: Molly Masciantonio 5 1-3 13, Erin Sweeney 3 1-2 7, Ali Dreager 1 0-0 2, Harlem Jennings 2 4-5 9, Bess Wynter 1 1-2 3. Nonscoring: Mary DiSimone, Bridget Hislop. Totals: 12 7-11 34.
Archbishop Wood: Katie May 4 1-2 11, Kaitlyn Orihel 2 2-4 7, Bridget Arcidiacono 2 1-2 5, Annie Whalen 3 2-2 10, Ryleigh Parsons 1 0-0 2, Mia Andrews 3 1-2 8, Nicole Greenberg 2 0-0 4. Nonscoring: Erin Morgan. Totals: 17 7-12 47.
3-pointers: AW – May 2, Whalen 2, Orihel, Andrews; AC – Masciantonio 2, Jennings.
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