Vincentian romps in opener
Give this to the Vincentian girls basketball team: The Royals don't discriminate.
With wins over playoff teams from all four WPIAL classifications, the Royals gave little credence to the argument that they would crumble without Keturah Vactor, their leading scorer last year who hasn't played this season because of a knee injury.
The reigning WPIAL Class A champion, top-seeded Vincentian got little resistance Thursday from No. 16 Cornell and took the first step toward defending its title with a 75-39 first-round victory at Keystone Oaks. Vincentian (21-1) will play Rochester in Saturday's quarterfinals.
"We always try to get our athletic director to schedule us against tough teams because it helps for the playoffs," said guard Ashlee Darby, who had 13 points and five steals. "We look forward to those games."
Forward Gabby Baldasare had 10 points, eight rebounds and six blocks, and guard Noreen Fischer added 10 points. Mason DePetro led Cornell (9-15) with 15 points.
Vincentian jumped out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter -- the result of eight points from Baldasare -- and used a 14-1 run midway through the second to turn a 25-12 lead into a 39-13 advantage with 3:17 left. Cornell, which committed 14 first-half turnovers, was held without a field goal in the quarter until Malana Fuller's layup with 1:52 remaining.
"We fuel ourselves off of defense," said Baldasare, who went tumbling into the wall with 3:55 left in the half but returned to start the third quarter. "We're all pretty talented offensively, so as long as we fuel ourselves on defense, our offense is going to come into place."
After holding a 45-21 lead at halftime, Vincentian used a 12-2 run early in the third quarter to pull away, making any worries about the Royals' 10-day layoff a nonissue.
"We hadn't played in 10 days, so I knew it was going to be a little rough," coach Ron Moncrief said. "But, once we started to get our rhythm back, we did pretty well."