SHILLINGTON — Archbishop Carroll’s run in the PIAA Class 6A tournament came to a stunning close after only two games.
The Patriots had every reason to believe they were bound to play in Hershey in the final weekend of March. They are the team that went undefeated in the Philadelphia Catholic League during the regular season, beating two of the best programs in the state, regardless of classification.
Then some things started to go wrong for the Patriots.
They saw their best defender, sophomore Brooke Wilson, injured in the Catholic League semifinals. A week later, the Patriots lost the league final by 25 points to Cardinal O’Hara. While Carroll managed to win a District 12 title and its PIAA opener, it was unable to rekindle the magic of its regular season success.
And so, the Patriots didn’t score a single point until 25 seconds remained in the first quarter Friday night at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. Cedar Cliff, the third-place team from District 3, led from wire to wire and fended off a gritty second-half rally by Carroll to claim a 47-44 victory. The Colts upset the Patriots and are moving on to the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal round.
“I think second opportunities (for Cedaf Cliff) is the number one thing that I would say was the difference. I’m going to think about this game a thousand times in my head,” said senior guard Grace O’Neill, who ended her remarkable career with 14 points and three assists. “And putting the ball in the basket for us, I mean, there’s not much you can always do about that. Sometimes it’s just not our day.”
The Patriots trailed 8-0 before senior Maggie Grant swished a 3-point basket in the final seconds of the first period. Cedar Cliff’s lead ballooned to 17-4 and 21-8 before Carroll ended the first half on an 8-5 run. The Colts were dominating the glass by a 19-6 margin.
After intermission, the Patriots started playing like themselves again. While the Colts took their largest lead of the night at 38-24, the Patriots used a 17-4 run to pull within a point in the fourth quarter. Junior forward Taylor Wilson tallied 10 of her 12 points in the second half and her basket inside the paint cut the Patriots’ deficit to one.
But Cedar Cliff leaned on its sensational freshman, Olivia Jones, who supplied 19 points and 10 rebounds. She also hit six clutch free throws in the fourth quarter, including three that gave the Colts leads of 46-41 and 47-44 in the last two minutes.
“I knew that we had the potential the first day of open gym,” Jones said. “I played with most of these girls for a really long time, so our chemistry is there. And that’s what’s really carried us and everybody plays a significant role and plays their own role and that’s what makes us so good.
“It gave us a lot of confidence knowing that we are playing against one of the best teams in Philly, which carried over into the second half. We knew they were going to make runs and we knew they were going to come back because they’re such a good team. We just had to weather the storm and keep our composure.”
Carroll’s defense failed to stop Cedar Cliff from scoring easy buckets in transition and putbacks under the rim in the first two quarters. The defense made drastic improvements in the second half, thanks in part to the performance of sophomore guard Chloe Bleckley, who came away with four steals and hit a three-point play early in the final stanza to trim Cedar Cliff’s lead to 38-35.
“We didn’t come out very strong, but we really came back in the second half and played much better,” Bleckley said. “We tried to fight back as hard as we could, but we really needed (to play better in) the first half.”
Grant, who is bound for Villanova, drilled a triple with 40 seconds to play to make it a 46-44 game. After a Jones free throw, the Patriots had 19.3 seconds to tie the game Following a Carroll timeout, O’Neill launched a pair of 3-pointers that fell short. Grant got the ball at the top of the key, but time expired before she was able to get off a shot.
Taylor Wilson had 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists for the Patriots. Grant chipped in with 11 points.
“It just didn’t happen for us today,” O’Neill said.
Boys Basketball/ 4 weeks ago
PIAA basketball tournament brackets
The PIAA has released its brackets for the upcoming basketball championships. Tournaments begin Friday,...
WINTER SPORTS/ 5 hours ago
Pioneer Athletic Conference Citizen Awards and All-Academic Teams Winter 2022-23
Citizen Award Winners Boyertown: Gavin Sheridan, Wrestling Methacton: Morgan Coupe, Girls Basketball Norristown: Chris...
SPRING SPORTS/ 13 hours ago
Mercury roundup (March 31): Hurter two-run homer sends Boyertown softball over Pottsgrove
SOFTBALL Boyertown 4, Pottsgrove 3 Highlights: Ella Hurter’s two-run home run in the seventh...
SPRING SPORTS/ 13 hours ago
Boyertown baseball blanks Pottsgrove in PAC opener
LOWER POTTSGROVE >> Boyertown hadn’t played a game for over a week. Pottsgrove had...
SPRING SPORTS/ 15 hours ago
The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Local Roundup (March 31st): Hogenauer has 9 RBIs in West’s win
Baseball CB West 16, Upper Dublin 13: Central Bucks West’s Will Hogenauer had a...
SPRING SPORTS/ 16 hours ago
Unionville outlasts Great Valley
EAST MARLBOROUGH >> It was one heck of a varsity debut for Unionville pitcher...
Girls Lacrosse/ 17 hours ago
2023 Mercury Girls Lacrosse Team-By-Team Preview
Boyertown Head coach: Pam Wernersbach; 19th season Last year’s record: 6-4 PAC Liberty, 9-4...
Girls Lacrosse/ 18 hours ago
North Penn earns impressive road win over rival Abington
ABINGTON — There are a lot of moving pieces this year for the North...
Mercury Roundup (March 30): Pope John Paul II girls lacrosse edges Phoenixville in OT
GIRLS LACROSSE Pope John Paul II 10, Phoenixville 9 (OT) Highlights: Jill Cobaugh scored...
Delco High Schools: Ella Springer helps Agnes Irwin snap Carroll’s streak
Ella Springer scored with four minutes to play to lift Agnes Irwin to a...
Boys Lacrosse: Drew Merschel leads Conestoga to second-half surge past Strath Haven
NETHER PROVIDENCE — It was tied after one quarter and knotted at the half...
Lower Merion boys tennis team defeats Garnet Valley to boost record to 4-0
The Lower Merion High School boys’ tennis team improved its record to 4-0 after...
DLN local roundup: Rustin boys lacrosse team rolls to victory
The West Chester Rustin High School boys’ lacrosse team defeated West Chester Henderson, 10-2,...