Vincentian Academy claims PIAA Class A girls basketball title
HERSHEY — Vincentian Academy junior Brenna Wise wasn't about to let history repeat itself.
The 6-foot-1 forward made sure the gold trophy headed back to the North Hills.
Wise, who has numerous Division I offers, scored a game-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds, five blocked shots, five assists and three steals to lead Vincentian (27-3) to a 58-34 victory over District 2 champion Old Forge in the PIAA Class A girls championship Saturday at Giant Center.
Vincentian won its second state title and first since 2002. It atones for last year's disappointing loss to Tri-Valley.
Vincentian trailed 5-4 when Wise took over. She scored 12 of her team's next 14 points, including nine in a row to push the Royals' lead to 18-9 after one quarter.
Wise opened the second quarter by scoring her team's first five points to push the lead to 23-9. Vincentian built the lead to 27-10 before Wise went to the bench with two fouls.
“We left last year with unfinished business,” Wise said. “We came back here to finish that business, and we did.
“We came out strong, we moved the ball extremely well and played incredible defense. It came down to heart, and we had the heart.”
“We learned from last year,” Vincentian coach Ron Moncrief said. “We played a great half in the first half, but Tri-Valley played a better half than we did. We wanted to make sure we came together and finish all four quarters, and I thought the girls did a great job.”
Old Forge cut the Vincentian lead to 27-16 by halftime with Wise on the bench. But the Blue Devils had trouble making shots. They went 10:30 without making a basket, including none in the second quarter.
“We couldn't stop their fast break, and Wise is just a good ballplayer,” Old Forge coach Tom Gatto said. “She plays the outside, she can go inside. When she goes to the basket, she goes to the basket with power. We had nobody who could stop her inside.”
Wise got a lot of help from her teammates in the second half, when Vincentian put the game out of reach.
Maia Joiner scored nine of her 11 points in the second half. Torrieonna Cash and Kayla Key finished the game with eight points apiece.
Vincentian led 47-27 after three quarters.
“We always play 110 percent, and we always know when to step up,” Wise said. “Everyone stepped up today. It was a team effort.”
Moncrief added: “Brenna has been motivated all season. She and the team had a nasty taste in their mouth after the loss to Tri-Valley. We wanted to come here and erase that taste and leave with a gold medal, and that's what we did.”
Lauren Casey led Old Forge (24-4) with 18 points.