Archbishop Wood pulls away from Archbishop Ryan to reach PCL final

PHILADELPHIA — As the teams jogged over to their respective benches, both coaches had a similar strategy in mind Thursday — do not let their top scorers beat you.

In effort to reach the Philadelphia Catholic League final, Archbishop Wood received big shots down the stretch to fend off Archbishop Ryan for a 39-34 semifinal victory at Philadelphia University.

The ball swung its way around the arc and into Aubree Brown and Bailey Greenberg in the paint. As soon as Greenberg touched the ball, the Ragdolls brought interior help. But the extra defender left a shooter wide-open, and in the fourth quarter Cassie Sebold’s two three-pointers helped the Lady Vikings stay in front.

“When we move the ball everyone gets involved,’ Greenberg said. “We always do a lot better. It helps when all our girls are making shots.’

“Aubree and Bailey had to step up at the beginning of the year and force the situation,’ Wood interim coach Mike McDonald said. “But we have been better when we get the whole team involved. These younger kids have more confidence. Cassie Sebold had a gigantic fourth quarter. With the basket getting small, she managed to put a couple through.’

Sebold scored eight off the bench, tied for the team high with Greenberg. While junior Greenberg and senior Brown (six points) were limited offensively, their rebounding limited the Ragdolls’ field goal attempts. With only 12 field goals in the game and only one quarter in double figures, the Vikings inside duo did just enough. Ryan’s Ashley Smink was the game’s lone scorer in double-figure with 10 points in the losing effort.

“Ryan did a really good job,’ McDonald said. “We are well aware of them, I coached there a few years ago. And these girls have been playing against them for years. We are familiar with them.’

When the Ragdolls made their run — cutting it to a four-point game on several occasions — it was the Vikings’ inability to follow the simple message McDonald stressed when they were called to the bench to talk it over. It was not as crisp as the perennial Catholic League powerhouse would have liked, and the Vikings know they will need to be better in the championship game against Neumann-Goretti, who took down Archbishop Carroll 40-28 in the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader.

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