CB West cruises past Archbishop Carroll, advances to PIAA AAAA semifinals

WHITEMARSH — The Central Bucks West girls basketball team knew it needed to do its homework if the Bucks id not want to go home Friday night.

The District 1 champs recognized who the shooters on Archbishop Carroll were and smothered them when ever they touched the ball. The Patriots were puzzled by the Bucks man-to-man defense and did not find a field goal until late in the third quarter. If the 10-0 run to start the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal contest was not a enough, the 12-0 run to start the second quarter nearly solidified the 60-45 win, earning a semifinal appearance for coach Terry Rakowsky’s group.

Tuesday, the Bucks play Palmyra — a 54-42 winner over Cardinal O’Hara — in the semi. The other semifinal is Cumberland Valley and Norwin.

“At this time of the year I am honestly not doing that much homework,” Bucks coach Terry Rakowsky said. “We try to do the same thing every game. Archbishop Carroll is a very good offensive team. Their pattern, they challenge you, they can drive and kick and our defense was extraordinary. We took away their offense.”

It was discipline defense inside and out. The Bucks went straight up when the Patriots (20-8) played in the paint and kept their hands active on the perimeter. Senior Mackenzie Carroll came up with a couple of steals that led to easy buckets or foul shots on the other end. The Colgate commit connected on 8-of-8 free throws and led the Bucks (31-1) with 19 points.

“I was told this is the farthest we have ever gone,” Rakowsky said. “In the 70s or 80s they got to this game, but they have never won the quarterfinal game.”

They only thing to slow down Carroll was her third foul early in the third quarter, but the Bucks had already built up a double-digit lead and West had plenty of other options on offense. Senior co-captain Corrine Godshall finished with 10 points and the Bucks still won handily despite Michigan recruit Nicole Munger being limited to two points, until she added a pair of free-throws down the stretch to close the game with four points. CB West made 23-of-26 free throws in the win.

“I think Nicole with four points sends more of statement,” Rakowsky said. “You can take Nikki away, but you cannot take everyone away. We have said that all year. They are extremely poised. Seniors have that settling factor.”

The first true turnover by the Bucks was committed in the fourth quarter and resulted in Patriots junior Jess Carney’s second of three three-pointers on three straight possessions. Bella Sorrentino was the lone Patriot in double figures with 10 points. While the Bucks were not going to let Archbishop Carroll seniors Lexi Stover and Julia Gantz go wild, Carney cut the deficit to 11 points and gave the Patriots their first sign of life.

“It is a game of runs, so our first half helped us,” Carroll said. “They were coming back a bit, but we were still up and we just kept playing the same way.”

“Carroll has three or four kids that can flat out shoot,” Rakowsky said. “And you saw it when we left them open they hit some shots.”

The damage had been done and the Bucks celebrated their first birth in the state semifinals in program history. With a 30-win season, league and district titles, there is already so much to be proud of, but this senior-laden group will not sleep until they come home from Hershey with a state title.

“We know it is one-and-done now,” Carroll said. “We wanted this so much throughout the years. Now we are here and we do not want to let it go because of one bad game. We are very happy about the district title, but we are definitely looking for that state title.”

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