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Poor 1st-half shooting dooms Serra girls in PIAA playoffs

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
Gary M. Baranec | Altoona Mirror
Bishop Guilfoyle's Kristen Miller scores past Serra Catholic's Jessie Manfredi in their PIAA Class AA second-round game Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at Indiana High School.

INDIANA — Bill Cleary has nothing against the media.

In fact, the veteran Serra Catholic girls basketball coach has been quite cooperative during his 26 years.

His perception might be altered a little after what transpired during the first half of a PIAA Class A second-round game against Bishop Guilfoyle.

A PIAA-exclusive rule of a media timeout midway through each quarter came at the worst point for Serra, which was standing toe-to-toe with the 2012 state runner-up at the time.

The 60-second pause in the action is all Bishop Guilfoyle needed to change that.

Bishop Guilfoyle rattled off 21 consecutive points in a span of nine minutes after the media break to give the Marauders all they needed to advance to the PIAA quarterfinals after a 62-50 win over Serra at Indiana High School.

Bishop Guilfoyle (26-2) advanced to take on Clarion, a 61-59 winner over Conemaugh Township, Saturday at a time and location to be determined.

“We were playing decent at the time, and we had them back on their heels,” said Cleary before pausing. “You know what, it had nothing to do with it.”

Halee Adams, Bishop Guilfoyle's help defense and poor Serra shooting had plenty do to with it.

Adams scored 11 of her game-high 20 points during the 21-0 run while BG was intent on collapsing the lane on Serra's dribble-drive guards — Katie and Megan Sieg — forcing the Eagles into outside shots that just weren't falling.

“We really didn't hit any shots during their run,” Cleary said. “We like to get to a hoop, and they wouldn't allow us. We were stuck on six for an awful long time. We just need to start hitting jump shots.”

During the stretch, Serra (24-4) missed 19 shots as Bishop Guilfoyle opened up a 25-6 lead.

“I am glad that we got that lead because Serra is a tough team to defend,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Mark Moschella said. “They see seams and do a good job of hitting those seams with the dribble. Our help defense was really good.”

Bishop Guilfoyle got 18 points from Kayla Bates and 13 from Devin Stessney. Danielle Dindak scored 14 points off the bench, and Katie Sieg chipped in with 12 for Serra.

“They are a very good team,” Cleary said.

How poorly Serra played in the first half offensively is how well they played over the final two quarters.

Serra went on a 14-6 run to open the third quarter, and when Katie Sieg hit a layup with 3:05 left, the Eagles' deficit was down to 35-29.

“You could tell their experience,” said Cleary, who starts only one senior compared to BG's five. “We made a run at them and got it under 10 and they didn't even take a timeout. That is how confident they were.”

Adams was a big reason why Serra couldn't get any closer. She scored four points in a span of 26 seconds to quickly get BG's lead back to double figures.

“We made two nice runs at them in the second half, but Adams always made a shot,” Cleary said. “She made a big shot that would stop our runs. But they are a senior team. They have been here and it has been a long time since we've been to this level.”

Serra had one last run and got it to 41-34 when Dindak hit a 3-pointer late in the third, but BG outscored Serra, 21-16, the rest of the way to seal the victory.

Serra shot 20 percent from the floor in the first half and 50 percent in the second.

“I don't like losing, but we could've folded it up and we didn't,” Cleary said. “I am really proud of my kids. I can't tell you how proud I am. We played as flat-footed as you can during that period of time, then we played as well as we could in the second half.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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