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Seton-La Salle girls win another state title

Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's girls team celebrates their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's girls team celebrates their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-LaSalle girls' team celebrates their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-LaSalle girls' team celebrates their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor reacts after she is called for a foul against Seton-La Salle during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor reacts after she is called for a foul against Seton-La Salle during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Morgan Henderson battles Neumann-Goretti's Christina Abowora for a rebound during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Morgan Henderson battles Neumann-Goretti's Christina Abowora for a rebound during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Cassidy Walsh shoots against Neumann-Goretti's A.J. Timbers during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Cassidy Walsh shoots against Neumann-Goretti's A.J. Timbers during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Naje Gibson shoots past against Neumann-Goretti's Emmanuella Awobajo during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Naje Gibson shoots past against Neumann-Goretti's Emmanuella Awobajo during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Nicolete Newman reacts as time begins to expire against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Nicolete Newman reacts as time begins to expire against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle head coach Spencer Stefko hugs Naje Gibson after their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle head coach Spencer Stefko hugs Naje Gibson after their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Yacine Diop pulls in a rebound against Neumann-Goretti's Tanesha Sutton during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Yacine Diop pulls in a rebound against Neumann-Goretti's Tanesha Sutton during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor reacts as she is called for her fifth foul against Seton-La Salle during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor reacts as she is called for her fifth foul against Seton-La Salle during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds shoots over Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds shoots over Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle listens to the national anthem before playing Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle listens to the national anthem before playing Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds reacts during a timeout after she stole the ball and scored consecutively against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds reacts during a timeout after she stole the ball and scored consecutively against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Morgan Henderson grabs a rebound against Neumann-Goretti's Emmanuella Awobajo during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Morgan Henderson grabs a rebound against Neumann-Goretti's Emmanuella Awobajo during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds is bumped by Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds is bumped by Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds reacts as time begins to expire and as Neumann-Goretti calls a timeout during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Shaunay Edmonds reacts as time begins to expire and as Neumann-Goretti calls a timeout during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Morgan Henderson loses control of a pass while pressured by Neumann-Goretti's Tanesha Sutton, right, during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Morgan Henderson loses control of a pass while pressured by Neumann-Goretti's Tanesha Sutton, right, during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle head coach Spencer Stefko reacts after a foul against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle head coach Spencer Stefko reacts after a foul against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle head coach Spencer Stefko hugs Bridget Sigg after their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle head coach Spencer Stefko hugs Bridget Sigg after their win over Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Neumann-Goretti's bench reacts to a late 3-pointer against Seton-La Salle during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Neumann-Goretti's bench reacts to a late 3-pointer against Seton-La Salle during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Naje Gibson wins the tipoff against Neumann-Goretti's Emmanuella Awobajo during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Naje Gibson wins the tipoff against Neumann-Goretti's Emmanuella Awobajo during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Yacine Diop blocks the shot of Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Yacine Diop blocks the shot of Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor steals the ball from Seton-La Salle's Cassidy Walsh during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor steals the ball from Seton-La Salle's Cassidy Walsh during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-LaSalle's Shaunay Edmonds steals the ball from Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-LaSalle's Shaunay Edmonds steals the ball from Neumann-Goretti's Ciani Cryor during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Seton-La Salle's Nicolete Newman is announced prior to the game against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Seton-La Salle's Nicolete Newman is announced prior to the game against Neumann-Goretti during the Class AA PIAA championship on March 21, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

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Friday, March 21, 2014, 2:17 p.m.
 

HERSHEY — For the first time since grade school, Seton-La Salle's Nicolette Newman felt like a championship underdog.

But that certainly didn't last.

Newman scored 17 points with six clutch fourth-quarter free throws, Yacine Diop had 23 rebounds, and Seton-La Salle won its second state title in three years with a 58-50 victory Friday over Neumann-Goretti in the PIAA Class AA title game at Giant Center.

Philadelphia's Neumann-Goretti (29-1) was an unbeaten District 12 champion and hadn't lost since last March. So for the first time this postseason, WPIAL champion Seton-La Salle (27-4) wasn't the clear favorite.

“We felt it as soon as we walked out,” said Newman, a junior who hadn't considered herself an underdog since she and teammate Cassidy Walsh were winning grade school titles at St. Gabriel's. “We knew Neumann-Goretti was a really good team. It was definitely a good feeling to (win as) the underdog.”

Walsh had 11 points and Seton-La Salle remained perfect in PIAA finals. The Rebels won the Class AA title in 2012 with Walsh as a freshman and won Class AAAA in 1984.

“That's a testament to kids believing that they could beat a 29-0 team and relishing the underdog role,” Seton coach Spencer Stefko said.

This was Stefko's first season with the Rebels, who've had three head coaches in three years.

“I really feel like I'm along for the ride,” said Stefko, who previously coached Chartiers Valley. “For me to stand here and act like this was my team would be a lie. This is Seton's team.”

This also was Diop's first season. A Senegal native, Diop was forced to sit out last season after transferring from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Along with nearly two dozen rebounds, the 6-foot senior had 10 points and six blocks.

“It feels really, really good because I was dreaming about it,” said Diop, a Pitt recruit. “My first and last year playing, I had to get the ring (as) state champion.”

Seton-La Salle played like favorites and built a 14-point second-half lead. It dwindled until the Rebels trailed 46-44 with 4:30 left, but Neumann-Goretti led for little more than a minute. With two free throws by senior Naje Gibson and a go-ahead basket by Walsh, Seton was ahead 48-46.

“We were fighting to stay in,” Neumann-Goretti coach Letty Santarelli said. “It showed a lot of character and composure on our end. We're just not used to trailing.”

Seton-La Salle clinched the win with free throws. The Rebels were 12 of 16 from the line in the fourth quarter, when Newman made 6 of 7, Walsh was 4 for 4 and Gibson was 2 for 2. Overall, the team made 15 of 23.

“All year there have been games where we make (free throws) and games where we don't,” Stefko said. “The kids haven't let that become a mental thing. We knew that when it mattered we'd make them.”

Emmanuella Awobajo led Neumann-Goretti with 13 points, and Ciani Cryor had 12, but both fouled out in the fourth quarter. A third starter, Tanesha Sutton, also fouled out. The Saints made just 5 of 30 from the 3-point arc.

Seton-La Salle started well and led 10-3. When Neumann-Goretti forced a 10-10 tie, the Rebels responded with a 12-2 run. Seton led 22-12 after a second-quarter basket by Shaunay Edmonds. Seton led 28-21 at halftime. The Rebels' lead peaked at 37-23 with 6:40 left in the third.

“If they had come out with a lead, our attitudes would have been way different,” Newman said. “They're a great team, but we knew we had it.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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