Bishop Canevin girls basketball rebounds from back-to-back losses

Nathan Smith
| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Bishop Canevin girls basketball team looked unstoppable through the first 11 games of the 2012 -13 season.

The Lady Crusaders were 11-0 as they were holding opponents to just 25 points per game and outscoring them on average by 32 points.

But then games 12 and 13 happened.

Bishop Canevin suffered back-to -ack losses to Gateway, 51-50, and Seton-La Salle, 66-35. Coach Tim Joyce said the reason for the setbacks was uncomplicated.

“It's pretty simple – when you stop guarding people and don't put the ball in the basket, you lose,” Joyce said. “It is pretty evident that things won't go well if teams are getting wide open shots and you don't make wide open shots.”

The Lady Crusaders seemed to be heading to another win against the Gators as they led 23-12 at halftime. But Gateway outscored Bishop Canevin, 23-10, in the third quarter to take the lead that it would hold the rest of the game.

“I look at the Gateway game and see we held them to 12 points in the first half and we come out in the second and give up 39 points,” Joyce said. “We are capable of defending. They just have to want to do it.”

The defensive woes continued into the next game as Seton-La Salle stormed out to a 10-0 lead and finished the first quarter up 20-5.

“You look at everything after a game like that,” Joyce said. “You have to make adjustments. You need to see what you can do better.”

It was a lapse in a defense that was extremely successful last season.

After Bishop Canevin opened the season going 0-2, the team switched its defense from a man-to-man to a zone style due to a lack of bench players. The switch worked as the Lady Crusaders went 22-4 the rest of the way and reached the WPIAL Class AA title game.

“We became a zone team because we couldn't guard anyone man-to-man,” Joyce said. “We were fouling a lot. Changing our style kept us out of foul trouble.”

While the two losses this season were disheartening, Bishop Canevin has the players to finish the season strong. The team returned four starters from a year ago – senior guards Erin Waskowiak and Celina DiPietro, senior forward Carly Forse and junior guard Johnie Olkosky. All four are scoring in double digits on average.

With the graduation of guard Becca Olkosky, the team needed to fill in the fifth spot and freshman Gina Vallecorsa stepped up. While the team is lacking the depth Joyce would like to see, a freshman stepping into a starting role was a positive thing to see.

“She is a good player,” Joyce said. “She has the skills to do it.”

Bishop Canevin was able to rebound from its losses last week as it defeated Wilkinsburg, 62-18, to improve to 6-1 in Section 4-AA and then knocked off Damascus (Md.), 56-45.

Bishop Canevin still has plenty of challenges left on its schedule – including Section 4-AA showdowns with Seton-La Salle and Chartiers-Houston and an out-of-section battle with Villa Maria Academy, the team that eliminated the Crusaders from the last two playoffs.

The tough schedule will hopefully prepare Bishop Cavein to make a deep run into the postseason.

“That was the idea behind it,” Joyce said. “We want the challenge. Now we have to see if we are up to it.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-583-6847 or at

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