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Bishop Canevin girls basketball team reaches WPIAL semifinals

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
Celina DiPietro and the Bishop Canevin girls basketball team are in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals for the third straight season. Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Signal Item
Celina DiPietro and the Bishop Canevin girls basketball team are in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals for the third straight season. Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item

The Bishop Canevin girls basketball team is not a stranger to big leads.

Of their regular-season wins, Crusaders 12 came by more than 20 points and nine came by scores of more than 30. Bishop Canevin's 32.2 points allowed per game is fourth lowest in Class AA.

“We have been a pretty good defensive team all year,” Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce said. “We sometimes get ourselves in trouble by reaching in too much, but for the most part we have done a good job on defense.”

Bishop Canevin added another big win last week with the start of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs as it defeated Neshannock, 65-28.

It took only 10 seconds for the Crusaders to find the basket as freshman Gina Vallecorsa used a putback to open the game. Senior Celina DiPietro added a 3-pointer a minute later to put the No. 2 seed up, 7-0.

Two straight baskets by the Lancers cut the deficit to five before Bishop Canevin ended the first quarter on a 13-0 run to go up, 22-4.

Of Bishop Canevin's first 22 points, 14 came from senior Duquesne recruit Erin Waskowiak.

“We got off to a good start,” Joyce said. “I was a little uncertain, because we hadn't played in awhile. Neshannock is a younger team, and if you get a good start on a team like that, they sometimes have a hard time adjusting to it.”

The Crusaders went 11 days without playing a game, but the 18-point lead after the first quarter showed no signs of rust.

“I really don't prefer a long layoff like that,” Joyce said. “We did have a good scrimmage, so that helped.”

DiPietro collected a loose ball and scored on a layup to put Bishop Canevin up, 38-11.

“We try to execute on half-court things on offense when we go up like that,” Joyce said. “And we try running some things we haven't in awhile. We have ran so many different things that we try some different ones.”

Waskowiak led all scorers with 31 points. Carly Forse added 15, and DiPietro had 11.

Bishop Canevin followed the win over Neshannock with a 56-44 defeat of Mohawk in the semifinals.

The Crusaders built a 24-10 first-quarter lead that Mohawk was unable to answer. DiPietro led the team with 26 points, including eight 3-pointers. Forse and Waskowiak each added 14. The win over Mohawk was Joyce's 200th career victory.

Joyce said if his squad wants to extend its season through the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs, the team will need to shoot the ball better. DiPietro's performance against Mohawk was a step in the right direction.

“We need to shoot better from the outside,” Joyce said. “We didn't shoot well (against Neshannock), so we need to do a better job of that.”

The win sent Bishop Canevin to its third straight WPIAL Class AA semifinal appearance. The Crusaders faced Burrell on Tuesday. Results were unavailable at press time. The team qualified for the PIAA tournament with its appearance in the WPIAL final four.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-388-5813.

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