Orihel’s scoring, Archbishop Wood’s defense too much for Archbishop Ryan

WARMINSTER >> After he started Kaitlyn Orihel in Archbishop Wood’s season opener, Vikings girls’ basketball coach Mike McDonald felt the freshman wasn’t quite ready for that much that soon.

So, Orihel came off the bench over the next few weeks, kept working hard at practice and with each passing game, grew more and more comfortable. Orihel is back in the Vikings starting lineup now and the freshman looks like she’s been in the Wood system for four years at this point.

What should put the rest of the Catholic League on alert is how easy it seems for her right now.

Orihel scored 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting as the Vikings stifled Archbishop Ryan 52-35 at Wood on Friday night. The victory assured the Vikings of the No. 2 seed for the PCL playoffs and on track to qualify for the state tournament.

“It was all a result of running our offense and preparing in practice the past two days,” Orihel said. “Everyone practiced hard, you get your open shots and you know it’s going to be there in the game. When my teammates passed it to me and my feet were set, I knew it was my shot to take and when it wasn’t, I looked to make the extra pass.”

Orihel also pulled down six rebounds and contributed an assist and a steal while helping Wood get off to a strong start against the Ragdolls. Ryan, which started the season 17-0, dropped its fourth straight game on Friday, ending a brutal stretch of games against Neumann-Goretti, Cardinal O’Hara, Archbishop Carroll and the Vikings.

McDonald said that gauntlet might have had some effect on Ryan, but he was still plenty wary of the Ragdolls’ plethora of slashing guards and knockdown shooters. It all started on the defensive end, where Wood managed to keep Ryan’s lead guards Taliyah Rahman and Monee Moore from repeatedly getting into the paint.

“I told our kids (Ryan) isn’t going to run a ton of offense, they’re going to try to spread you out and attack,” McDonald said. “We had to be prepared to move our feet, not reach in and help. We did a really good job. They have kids who can shoot it, but we recognized who can shoot well and who was more the attackers at the basket.”

McDonald credited the play of his bench on defense, especially junior Ryleigh Parsons. Parsons drew the assignment of Rahman and did a great job of keeping the agile Ryan guard in front of her most of the game.

After Ryan cut the score to 8-7 early in the first, Orihel buried a 3-pointer from the corner, then hit a stick-back bucket in the final 65 seconds to send Wood into the second frame up 13-7. The freshman scored eight points in the first, eight in the third and five in the final quarter.

Her coach called it a “quiet” 21 because of how efficient it was.

“She’s really just in sync with everybody,” McDonald said. “We run an offense where you have to be on the same page with everybody and she’s likely coming from middle school where she always has the ball, feeds people and scores the basketball. Now, she’s learning how to do it in our offense and within the game, she’s understanding when she should attack, when she should shoot and when she should look to pass.”

Wood’s offense was especially on point Friday, with Katie May backing up Orihel with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. May also had six rebounds, an assist and four blocks in a pretty complete game.

As a team, the Vikings canned 10 treys and assisted 14 of their 19 made field goals. Senior Bridget Arcidiacono only scored three points, but assisted five baskets to go with her seven rebounds.

“Katie hit big shots early for us to keep us on top and keep us in control,” McDonald said. “We talked about rebound more on the defensive side. We were pretty aggressive attacking the offensive glass as well. These kids really wanted to win this game, they know what’s at stake.”

Orihel admitted she didn’t shoot great in warm-ups but as soon as her first shot, a three, went down, her confidence was up for the rest of the game. The freshman has a fluid shot and buried 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

She’s also much more than just a good shooter.

“She’s just tough and has a knack for the game and I think that’s a big part of why she does so well,” McDonald said. “She’s there for everything. A loose ball, she seems to be there. A rebound, she seems to be there. She has high IQ and she’s not afraid, she’s not afraid of anybody and not afraid of contact. It’s hard to teach what she has and that’s just toughness.”

Wood led 27-15 at the half with May and Annie Whalen each scoring six points in the frame. Orihel had eight of the team’s 10 in the third quarter as Wood maintained its double-digit lead then began to push out the advantage in the final quarter.

Orihel said she’s looking forward to her first postseason experience, with Wood’s first PCL game set for Feb. 15. The freshman admitted the first few weeks of practices and games she was “trying not to mess up,” and credited all the work in practice for helping her get comfortable in Wood’s system.

“It came gradually,” Orihel said. “The more I practiced, the more comfortable I got with the girls and I knew I could trust them on the court. If the ball’s going up, I have a chance to go get it so I want to be the one who gets it every time that I can.”

ARCHBISHOP RYAN 7 8 9 11 – 35
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 13 14 10 15 – 52
AR: Rahman 4 0-0 9, Russell 2 0-0 5, Cashman 1 0-0 3, Moore 3 3-4 9, McCurdy 1 2-2 4, Glenn 1 0-0 3, Deluisi 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 5-6 35
AW: Kaitlyn Orihel 8 1-2 21, Katie May 6 0-0 16, Bridget Arcidiacono 1 0-0 3, Annie Whalen 3 1-1 8, Ryleigh Parsons 2 0-0 4. Nonscoring: Erin Morgan, Mia Andrews, Nicole Greenberg. Totals: 19 4-5 52
3-pointers: AW – Orihel 4, May 4, Whalen, Arcidiacono; AR – Rahman, Russell, Cashman, Glenn.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply