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Bishop Canevin holds off Burrell in PIAA quarterfinals

Bishop Canevin's Carly Forse (20) grabs a rebound from Burrell's Erika Finn (32) and Bishop Canevin's Alaina McGuire (10) during the PIAA Class AA playoff game at North Hills High School on Friday March 15, 2013.

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By George Guido
Friday, March 15, 2013, 10:42 p.m.

The girls basketball teams from Burrell and Bishop Canevin were both looking for the first PIAA semifinal berth in their respective histories when the two teams squared off Friday night.

With a tenacious defense and a strong shooting performance by senior Celina DiPietro, the Crusaders advanced to Class AA semifinals on Tuesday night. Bishop Canevin earned a 41-29 victory over the Bucs at North Hills High School. Bishop Canevin (25-4) will play rival Seton-La Salle for a spot in the state finals.

Burrell finished the season at 24-4, tied with the 1993-94 team's mark for the most wins in school history.

DiPierto scored 22 of her team's 41 points, including five 3-pointers, as Burrell played a much closer game against the Crusaders than the last time the two teams met on Feb. 26. Bishop Canevin won that one, 55-19, but needed better than two quarters Friday night to build a double-digit lead.

Despite winning the first WPIAL title in school history and his team being one step away from a trip to Hershey, Crusaders coach Tim Joyce isn't looking at this as a breakthrough season for his program.

“I don't really think of it that way,” Joyce said. “We take one game at a time. That's this year. That's how I pretty much approach each year.”

Burrell had the lead for nearly a minute in the first period when Erika Finn came off the bench to make a 3-pointer to give the Bucs a short-lived 6-4 advantage.

But DiPietro answered with a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of the period, including one that beat the buzzer. Those shots were part of an 11-2 surge that put the Crusaders in the driver's seat.

Burrell committed just two team fouls in the first half and trailed, 19-12, at the intermission.

Like many games this season, Bishop Canevin did the little things that don't show up in the box score. Four times after a Burrell player grabbed a rebound, a Bishop Canevin player batted the ball away to keep the offensive sequence going. The Crusaders committed 15 turnovers, but Burrell couldn't convert, scoring just eight field goals during the game.

“That's kind of how you get this far,” Joyce said. “If you don't do those things you generally don't get this far. We preach defense and rebounding as a constant.”

Sydney Bordonaro dribbled the length of the floor for a basket to start the third quarter and bring the Bucs to within five, 19-14.

But Bishop Canevin answered with two quick baskets.

“We were happy we were able to compete this time,” Bordonaro said. “But we'd get to within five, and they'd get a 3-pointer.”

“Bishop Canevin's a great team; they've got so many shooters,” said Bucs coach Meghan Ziemianski. ‘“They can shoot from anywhere on the floor.”

DiPietro's fourth 3-pointer gave Bishop Canevin it's first double-digit lead, 28-18, with 3:47 left in the third period.

Burrell couldn't get any closer the rest of the way.

Bordonaro scored nine points before fouling out with 1:23 to go.

Carly Force led the Crusaders with eight rebounds, and Bishop Canevin had 14 team steals.

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