Top-seeded Vincentian stands in way of Serra Catholic girls' goal
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Serra Catholic beat Clairton by 61 and 58 points earlier in the year.
The Eagles held Monessen to 12 and 15 points the two times the longtime rivals played.
In January, Serra invoked the mercy rule in eight of its 10 games and won nine of those by an average of 52 points. In three playoff games, the Eagles won by 28, 50 and 20 points.
You get the point?
Serra's Superman-like effort over the past three months has put the Eagles back in the Class A championship for the 11th time in school history and for the second consecutive season Saturday at Palumbo Center, where their kryptonite awaits — top-seeded Vincentian Academy.
Serra (23-2) has lost its last six games to Vincentian (21-3), including last year's title game, and the Royals are responsible for half of the Eagles six losses over the past two seasons.
“Yeah, I am aware of that,” Serra coach Bill Cleary said. “Thing is, they have been a very good team for a while now. In most cases, they have been better than us. But who knows? Let's see what happens.”
Serra may just have the motivation to take home its first WPIAL title in nearly a decade and prevent Vincentian of being the first Class A team to three-peat since Avonworth 20 years ago.
“They have been our goal,” senior point guard Megan Sieg said. “We wanted them. That has been our goal since last year. We wanted to get back here, but getting back here wasn't our goal. It was winning it all.”
To do that, Serra is going to have to find a way to slow down 6-foot junior forward Brenna Wise. Wise is approaching 2,000 career points and is averaging 18.5 per game but has saved some of her best efforts for Serra.
In three career games against the Eagles, Wise is averaging 23 points and 18 rebounds, which includes a dominant effort three months ago, when Wise had 31 points, 18 rebounds, five steals, three assists and was 18 of 19 from the foul line.
“She does affect the game in many different ways,” said Cleary, who has a 547-149 record in 27 years at Serra. “We have to be aware of her on every possession offensively and defensively. Even if she is not scoring, she is doing something else.”
But don't expect Cleary to use many junk defenses against Wise. Teams have used some exotic ones against her over the past couple years with limited success.
“You toy with every possibility and see how it works,” Cleary said. “Sometimes when you do that, it blows up in your face. Junk defenses are sometimes not a great option. It could be a nice curveball for a little while, but I don't know how that can last all game.”
Wise has seen it all, too.
“Box-and-ones, double teams, triple teams. They throw it all at her,” Vincentian coach Ron Moncrief said.
While Wise is the main scorer for Vincentian (Torrieonna Cash averages 10.1 ppg), Serra goes with more of a team approach.
Serra's starters — Megan Sieg, Katie Sieg, Nicole Pero, Leslie Hoye, Danielle Dindak — average between 10 to 12 points.
In three playoff games, Serra had seven players score between 10 to 16 points.
“We would sure like to win one more,” Cleary said. “It would mean a lot to the girls. They did the runner-up thing last year, so they would like to come out on top this time.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.