Burrell girls out but not down after loss to Bishop Canevin
Burrell's second postseason showdown against Bishop Canevin was a far cry from the first. Maybe that's why there were few tears shed after the game on Friday night.
Despite a season-ending loss, the Lady Bucs held their heads high after giving the WPIAL champion Crusaders a much closer game in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
The 41-29 loss at North Hills High School took a LaVar Leap over the 55-19 setback Burrell suffered in the WPIAL semifinals.
And Burrell, which ends arguably its best season at 24-4, was taking mental notes on every possession and filing them away for next season.
Lessons were learned, and a wide-eyed group joined the team-to-watch fraternity.
All five starters stand to return from a group that raised the playoff bar at Burrell, which reached the state quarterfinals for the first time. That came after Burrell advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the first since 1994.
“We were so upset last game because we couldn't do anything against them,” said Burrell sophomore point guard Sydney Bordonaro, who fouled out with a team-high nine points Friday. “But this time we competed with them the whole game. We kept on gaining experience, and that'll be huge for next year.”
Burrell trailed just 10-6 after the first quarter and 19-12 at the half, but Bishop Canevin gained separation in the second half behind senior guard Celina DiPietro's hot shooting. She hit five 3-pointers for the game and scored seven of her 22 points in the third.
In the first meeting, Burrell trailed, 20-2, after eight minutes.
“Our girls fought until the end,” Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski said. “You can tell Bishop Canevin has that experience. And now, so do we. If you look at it, we were one of the top five teams in the state. And they're all coming back.”
Burrell's performance was far from flawless, but much of that was because of the Crusaders' hounding defense and array of shooters. The Bucs know if they find themselves in the same situation next season, with six playoff games adding to their maturity, they could be on the winning side and moving farther right in the bracket.
“We learned from our mistakes and played a lot better,” sophomore guard Erika Finn said. “We handled their pressure better. We were able to make better passes and play our game.”
Burrell can learn from Bishop Canevin's style, which mirrored its own in many respects. Neither team was lacking in pressure defense, shooters or a post-up game.
With Burrell expected to have a junior varsity team next year, depth could enhance what already exists: a foundation for the future.
Bordonaro, freshman Natalie Myers and Finn all will move on to AAU. Bordonaro, who isn't running track, said she'll join her new team on Sunday.
She will join Fox Chapel standout forward Erin Mathias on the Western Pennsylvania Bruins coached by Ron Mumbry.
“Getting back at it,” Bordonaro said. “Have to get ready for next year.”
Said Ziemianski: “You look at what we did. A little school like Burrell. I am so proud of these girls.”