Quigley Catholic takes down Serra Catholic girls
On paper, the WPIAL Class A quarterfinal matchup between Serra Catholic and Quigley Catholic looked about as evenly matched as it gets.
The Spartans averaged about 58 points per game, with the Eagles right behind at 54. Both Quigley and Serra claimed a section title, and the teams were seeded No. 4 and 5, respectively.
So it was no surprise that after a quarter Monday night, the teams were tied. But from that point, the Spartans proved to be the better of the two.
Quigley used a 7-0 run in the second quarter to establish supremacy and score a 52-35 victory over Serra Catholic at Ambridge.
“That's kind of the way we play,” Quigley coach Bill Deltondo said. “We get a feel for the team in the first quarter and then we finally start playing our game. That's what happened in the second quarter and let us pull away.”
During the run, Serra Catholic committed four turnovers, two of which led to fast-break baskets for the opposition. The Eagles were outscored 11-4 in the second quarter and trailed 27-16 by halftime.
“We were helping that along by our turnovers,” Serra coach Bill Cleary said. “In the second quarter, it got away from us. They tightened it up defensively, and we struggled for points the rest of the night.”
Turnovers played into Quigley's strengths and boosted the Spartans' confidence.
“The girls like to run,” Deltondo said. “We know that defense turns into offense, and whenever we start doing that, we can be a good team.”
Quigley junior Gabrielle Smith scored 18 points. She had 10 points in the second half by slicing through the Eagles' 2-3 zone defense and scoring in the paint.
“We knew the middle would be open if we threw a pass in from the wing,” Deltondo said. “We knew if Gabby gets in there and gets her hands on the ball, she'd be able to get to the hoop.”
Liz Duer had 13 points and five rebounds, and Gabrielle's older sister, Kaitlyn, scored 10 points.
The Eagles' Katie Sieg had a game-high 20 points. Felicia Moon, a 6-foot-4 junior center, added six points, six blocks and five rebounds.
The Spartans' defense kept Serra from getting a rhythm on offense.
“We abandoned our sets, and we just tried to open the floor and ball screen and see if we can get to the hoop somehow, which was very, very hard to do,” Cleary said.
Quigley (19-4) advances to the WPIAL semifinals to play Vincentian on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.
The Eagles (14-8) will face Imani Christian in a PIAA play-in game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at West Allegheny.
“We still have some basketball left,” Cleary said.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.