Piombino’s pace helps Sacred Heart stifle Bristol in final

NORTHAMPTON >> Sacred Heart’s stingy man-to-man defense stuck like glue to Bristol in the District 1 Class 2A girls basketball championship final Saturday afternoon, limiting the No. 2 seed Warriors to 16 percent from the field (10-for-62), as the Lions won, 57-30, at Council Rock South.

Sacred Heart junior point guard Eileen Piombino, who scored 26 points, said, “Our defense kept working the whole game, forcing them to take hard shots.”

The Lions (15-9) bolted out to a 32-14 halftime lead, outscoring Bristol 17-4 in the second period. In the final period, Sacred Heart held Bristol scoreless.

“We stuck with the same man-to-man defense we’ve used all season long,” said Sacred Heart head coach Zach Shuler. “We came out a little flat at the beginning of the game, and in the second quarter we did so much better. We always put Kaleigh (Doyle) on the other team’s most athletic guard, Eileen always does a great job defensively, and Kyra (Quigley) is our shot blocker — and she had some big blocks today.”

Quigley finished with 15 rebounds, four blocks and 13 points, and held Warrior center Kendell Lewis to 1-for-13 from the field.

Doyle held the Warriors’ top shooting guard, junior Darnella McMillan, to 2-for-19 on field goals. Piombino was 6-for-11 from the field, 11-for-14 from the free throw line, and held Warrior point guard Tiana Brewington to 2-for-9 from the field.

“I’m so excited, proud of our team,” said Piombino. “Everyone stepped up and contributed today.”

This is Sacred Heart’s first District 1 2A title. The Lions captured the District 1 Class A title in 2009 (against Delco Christian) and 2008 (vs. Girard College).

The Lions, the top seed in District 1, needed the victory Saturday to advance to the PIAA tournament, and will play Motivation High School, the fourth seed out of District 12, in the opening round Friday.

Sacred Heart beat Bristol 51-32 Jan. 27. Saturday, the Lions bolted to an 8-0 lead in the first few minutes.

Piombino’s drive for a basket broke the ice, Doyle’s trey from the left corner made it 6-0 and Piombino hit from the outside to cap the 8-0 opening run.

The Lions held a 15-10 lead at the beginning of the second quarter, then went on a 15-1 run, led by eight points from Piombino. She went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the second, and by halftime had 15 points.

Bristol head coach Jim Petrino said Piombino, “made us run, and we ran out of steam. We played well in spurts today, but it was the same thing the last time we played them – we had two bad quarters.

“Everyone would love to have someone like (Piombino) as a floor general.”

Quigley, averaging 10.2 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per contest, started the Lions’ 15-1 run with a putback. Meanwhile, Bristol shot 1-for-21 from the field in the second quarter, and the Lions were getting plenty of defensive rebounds.

“I knew that Bristol was good at getting offensive rebounds, so we needed to come up with a good effort today,” said Shuler.

Piombino added, “Coach is always telling us, ‘Everybody get a body on someone.’”

At the start of the second half, Bristol found its shooting touch, as Hailey Sweeney got open on the left side to hit a pair of treys, and Brewington nailed a 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart was having trouble connecting its shots, and suddenly, the Lions’ lead was down to 36-27.

Quigley gave Sacred Heart some breathing room when she tallied twice underneath, then Piombino nailed a trey from the right corner to make it 45-27.

“Give credit to Bristol, they hit some deep 3’s in the third quarter, but then we wore them out in the fourth quarter, shut them out,” said Shuler.

Doyle’s steal and drive for a basket at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Lions a 49-30 lead, and Sacred Heart began clearing its bench. In the fourth quarter, 13 Lions saw floor time, and Sacred Heart still held Bristol scoreless for the period.

Sacred Heart 57, Bristol 30
Bristol: McMillan 2 0-0 5, Newkirk 2 0-0 4, Brewington 2 3-3 9, Sweeney 3 0-0 9, Lewis 1 2-4 4. Totals 10 5-7 30.
Sacred Heart: Doyle 3 0-0 7, Piombino 6 11-14 26, Webster 1 0-0 2, Karnoto 1 0-0 2, Robinson 1 0-0 3, Friend 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 2-2 2, Quigley 6 1-6 13. Totals 19 14-22 57.
Bristol 10 4 16 0 – 30
Sacred Heart 15 17 13 12 – 57
3-point goals: BR – McMillan, Brewington, Sweeney 3; SH – Doyle, Piombino 3, Robinson.
Personal fouls: Bristol 15, Sacred Heart 8.
Technical fouls: None.

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