Quigley moves past St. Joseph in WPIAL quarterfinals
St. Joseph and Quigley Catholic each committed 17 turnovers.
But the results of those turnovers proved to be the difference Saturday afternoon as Quigley downed St. Joseph, 49-39, in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal game at Ambridge.
Quigley (18-5) will move on to semifinal play against top-seeded Vincentian on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
St. Joseph (19-5) will have to hope for a major upset by Quigley over Vincentian in order to have any chance for its season to continue.
Five Class A teams will make the PIAA playoffs — the four semifinalists and the quarterfinalist which lost to the eventual WPIAL champion.
With the score tied at 15-15 late in the second quarter, Quigley took advantage of three steals that led to seven points en route to a 25-17 halftime lead.
Quigley then committed three turnovers in its first three possessions of the second half, but St. Joseph couldn't convert any of those miscues into points.
That allowed Quigley to expand its lead to double digits by the end of the third quarter.
“It was one of those days where nothing went our way,” St. Joseph coach Sally Ackerman said. “The ball didn't bounce our way — not even jump balls where we had bad timing.”
St. Joseph had the lead or was tied for much of the early going.
Mallory Heinle and Nikki Mielecki combined for the first 11 St. Joseph points to put their team ahead, 11-8, during the opening minute of the second quarter.
But a 3-pointer by Kaitlyn Smith put Quigley in front, 13-11. Another 3-pointer by Smith gave Quigley the lead for good, 18-15, with 1:50 left in the first half.
Quigley finished the first half with four turnovers and five team fouls.
“Traditionally, we've been starting off slow, and we did the same thing today,” Quigley coach Bill DelTondo said. “We played better in the second and third quarters.
“We still made mistakes, but we played better than what we were earlier in the game.”
A putback by Kristin Jackson with 5:07 to go in the third quarter gave Quigley its first double-digit lead, 30-19.
A jumper by Julie Hetu with 7:01 left in the game brought St. Joseph within 40-33, but the team couldn't cut further into the Quigley lead.
With Vincentian going into Tuesday's encounter as a heavy favorite against Quigley, it means Saturday could have been the last game in a St. Joseph uniform for Heinle, one of the top female athletes in school history.
Heinle scored 23 of her team's 39 points and collected 12 rebounds.
“It's been a great experience,” first-year coach Ackerman said. “I hope the girls had as wonderful a time as I've had, that includes Mallory and all of the girls. I saw a lot of basketball growth and personal growth for these girls this year. It's a shame we had to lose, but I'm extremely proud of these girls.”
Liz Duer led four Quigley players in double figures with 14 points. Jackson had 12 rebounds.
George Guido is a freelance writer.