ShareThis Page

Bishop Canevin edges West Shamokin to earn PIAA title-game berth

| Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 8:39 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Brionna Allen competes against West Shamokin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Diasha Allen goes up for a layup against West Shamokin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
West Shamokin head coach Frank Nagy and assistant coaches call in a play against Bishop Canevin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
West Shamokin's Olivia Fusar competes against Bishop Canevin's Lauren Gamble in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce looks for a call against West Shamokin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
West Shamokin's Shelby Clowser competes against Bishop Canevin's Zoe Woods in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Diasha Allen competes against West Shamokin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
West Shamokin suffers a loss against Bishop Canevin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Shamyjha Price competes against West Shamokin in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Sarah Green looks to pull down a rebound against West Shamokin's Andera Orlosky and Katie Glover in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Bishop Canevin's Sarah Green, Lauren Gamble and Shamyjha Price celebrate their win in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game March 21, 2017, at North Allegheny.

There was no denying there was a different feeling in the gymnasium Tuesday night at North Allegheny for Bishop Canevin sophomore guard Shamyjha Price.

West Shamokin came for a fight. The Crusaders found out quickly there would be no coasting against the Wolves in a PIAA Class 3A girls basketball semifinal.

The District 6 champion Wolves were going to push Bishop Canevin like it hadn't been during the postseason. No one came closer than 21 points against the Crusaders.

With 6 minutes, 51 seconds remaining West Shamokin led by one. Facing a raucous Wolves' crowd, Bishop Canevin responded with a 9-0 run and survived with a 43-39 win.

“We went out there nervous,” Price said. “After halftime, we got it together and had to clear our minds and play our game.”

Launching full-bore into a shot by Olivia Fusaro allowed Price to block a shot that sparked the run and helped the Crusaders earn a spot in the state final.

Following a pass, it ended up with a layup by teammate Sarah Green, who put the Crusaders ahead 33-31.

“We kept working hard on defense to get our offense going,” said Crusaders guard Brionna Allen, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “We all pulled together and got it done.”

Finishing games hadn't been an issue for Bishop Canevin (23-5) during the postseason. The WPIAL champion Crusaders had won their previous six playoff games by an average of 25.3 points.

When asked if the contest would help him team, Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce laughed and wasn't entirely sure he could handle another close one.

The Crusaders, who won the Class AA state title in their only appearance in 2013, will take on District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti (23-5), a winner over York Catholic. Bishop Canevin beat York Catholic, 45-38, in the 2013 final.

“I don't know if my heart can take that,” Joyce said. “I would have rather won like we have been winning, but hey, we're going so we'll take it.”

Early on, it appeared West Shamokin, which had a 15-game winning streak snapped, may struggle against Bishop Canevin's defense. The Crusaders jumped to a 5-0 lead and led by seven points twice in the second quarter.

Bishop Canevin did have big lulls on offense. To open the second quarter, the Crusaders had five straight misses from the field. Price was 1 of 7 from the field in the first half, but recovered to finish with 12 points.

“I knew I wasn't on in the beginning,” Price said. “I knew we had to go out there and play our game, get steals and get to the help.”

Wolves coach Frank Nagy knew his team would work back into the game.

“We didn't go into this game even thinking we would lose by 25,” Nagy said. “We didn't go into the game thinking that was an option. We didn't go into the game even thinking losing was an option, that's why they are so devastated. This group of girls expects to win every single game and compete with every single team regardless of who it is. Regardless of record or reputation, they expect to compete.”

Shelby Clowser, who scored all 13 of her points in the second half, gave West Shamokin its first lead. Her trey with 6:54 left in the third quarter put the Wolves ahead 21-20. In the fourth quarter, a Clowser jumper gave West Shamokin its final lead, 31-30.

Bishop Canevin scored the next nine points to give it enough cushion to escape with a win.

The Crusaders picked up a new skill just in time for their biggest game of the season.

“I think it prepared us for a lot,” Allen said. “We need to practice hard the next two days, and we'll be ready.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.