Vincentian girls fall in Class A state basketball title game
HERSHEY — The Vincentian Academy girls basketball team took awhile to exit the locker room Saturday afternoon at Giant Center.
Coach Ron Moncrief said he wanted his players to reflect on a great season but also the hurt they felt after losing the PIAA Class A championship game to a veteran Tri-Valley squad, 59-42.
Tri-Valley (29-3), from District 11 near Allentown, used a strong second half to break open a close game and win its first state title. Vincentian dropped to 1-2 in state championship games, winning in 2002 against Trinity.
The score was tied at 27 early in the third quarter when Tri-Valley senior Chelsea Stutzman nailed a 3-pointer. The Lady Dawgs never looked back as they outscored Vincentian, 32-15, during the final 13 minutes.
Vincentian (29-2) became flustered during the second half as Tri-Valley turned up the defensive intensity. The Royals turned the ball over 22 times, 12 times in the second half.
“We were more patient in the second half, and in order for us to be successful, we have to be able to involve Naholdil, our 6-foot-4 center,” Tri-Valley senior point guard Juli Weber said. “We waited and made the right pass instead of being anxious. We did a great job defensively in the second half.”
Weber, a South Florida softball recruit, scored 19 points, had 10 steals and nine rebounds. Nahodil, who is headed to Seton Hall, scored 17 of her 19 points in the second half, and senior Taylor Troutman added 12.
“We were looking to do a good job on (Brenna) Wise. She's a great player, and she had a great game. We made her life a little tougher by playing better defense in the half court,” Tri-Valley coach Robert Felty Jr. said. “We tried to run our half-court offense a little more and go inside. We executed perfectly in the second half.”
Vincentian, which starts one senior, stayed with Tri-Valley in the first half. Wise, who finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, scored 13 points in the first half, and junior Abbey Bartoszewicz scored eight of her 10 points as the Royals trailed, 25-24, at the break.
“The first half, we played pretty evenly with them,” Moncrief said. “The second half is where their experience came in and they took advantage of us.
“In the first half, we did a good job limiting the big girl. I think she had two points. Second half, she had a lot more points, and the point guard did a great job penetrating.”
Wise, a 6-1 sophomore, said Tri-Valley played with more intensity in the second half.
“We got a little rattled and didn't respond as well as we should have,” Wise said. “We made a few mistakes, and they converted them.
“We have to learn from this and better ourselves. We have a lot of work to do in the off season. We're going to work twice as hard because we're going to come back here.”
Moncrief said the team came a long way from one that he said wasn't on anyone's radar.
“Even though we didn't win states, we had a pretty good season,” he said. “Winning the section title, winning the WPIAL and being state runners-up, especially with such young players in the lineup, is pretty good.
“As long as we stay healthy and stay together, hopefully we can get back here again in the future. I want them to feel how they feel now, how sad they feel. Let it motivate them to work even harder so next time we walk out with a gold medal instead of a silver medal.”