Vincentian claims 3rd straight WPIAL Class A girls title
Danielle Dindak's 3-pointer and Katie Sieg's 12-foot jumper 30 seconds apart to start the third quarter pulled Serra Catholic within two points of top-seeded Vincentian Academy.
“At that point, I thought we were in perfect shape,” Serra coach Bill Cleary said.
Apparently, Cleary clearly forgot about Brenna Wise.
Wise scored 15 of her game-high 25 points during a decisive five-minute span of the third quarter, including 11 in two minutes, as top-ranked Vincentian claimed its third consecutive WPIAL Class A championship with a 66-46 win over No. 2 Serra on Saturday at Palumbo Center.
It was Serra's worst loss against a Class A team in 57 games.
“I just kind of realized that it is time to turn it up,” said Wise, who added 13 rebounds and six blocks. “It was time to come ready to play and leave it all out there. We didn't want to live with any regrets, and the victory kind of represents itself.”
It was the first three-peat in Class A in more than 20 years, and it was the eighth WPIAL title for Vincentian in the past 19 years. No WPIAL team, boys or girls, has won more championships over the past two decades than Vincentian.
“We are just trying to build a tradition and a powerhouse at Vincentian,” Royals coach Ron Moncrief said.
Vincentian (22-3) will be the top seed out of District 7 in the upcoming PIAA playoffs and will play District 9 third-place finisher Port Allegany (22-1) on Saturday at a time and site to be determined. Serra (23-3) will play District 10 runner-up Cochranton.
“This never gets old,” Moncrief said. “It really hasn't hit me yet. I am just very proud for the girls.”
Wise put together her typical game against Serra (averaging 23.5 points and 16.5 rebounds in four meetings) but received plenty of help from some hot-shooting teammates. Torrieonna Cash and Maia Joiner scored 11 points each as Vincentian shot 53 percent (8 of 15) from 3-point range. The Royals came into the game shooting 35 percent from long range.
“I have watched them on more than one occasion and have videotaped them, and no doubt this is the best they've shot,” Cleary said. “They have always been good, but I never saw them shoot like that.”
Serra, which got 14 points from Sieg, battled through that hot shooting to get within striking distance early in the third when Vincentian seemingly couldn't miss during a 25-5 run that turned a 34-32 lead into a 59-37 advantage late in the quarter.
“I don't think they missed a shot when they came out of there,” Cleary said. “We went ice cold and they didn't miss one and that's how you secure championships. My hat's off to them. They did what they had to do and pulled away from us.”
Vincentian returns four starters next year but isn't thinking about being the first team to win four WPIAL titles in a row since Oakland Catholic (1999-2003) ... yet.
“Once we complete our next goal of a state championship we can talk about four-peat,” Moncrief said.