More silver for Oakland Catholic
UNIVERSITY PARK -- If Oakland Catholic's players were laughing, it was to keep from crying. When they posed for a team picture at coach Shannon Boyle's request, some of the Eagles flashed two fingers.
As in second place, for the second time this season.
Oakland Catholic looked for a silver lining following a 56-37 loss to Archbishop Carroll on Friday night in the PIAA Class AAAA girls basketball final at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.
The Eagles finished 28-3, their losses coming against championship-caliber opponents: to PIAA Class AA champion Seton-La Salle in the regular-season finale; to three-time defending PIAA champion Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL title game; and finally to Archbishop Carroll yesterday.
Oakland Catholic went a span of 11 minutes, 13 seconds between field goals in the first half, and their 9-6 lead on Rachel Vigliotti's 3-pointer with 3:17 to go in the first quarter was followed by a 18-1 Archbishop Carroll run until Vigliotti made another 3 with four seconds left in the first half.
"It's unfortunate," said Oakland Catholic senior guard Bobbi Baker, who missed her first six attempts but finished with a team-high 13 points. "I wish we could play them again when we were having an offensive game. Obviously, that's not going to happen. ... We can't go without scoring like that. No one can win like that, especially in this game."
Archbishop Carroll (29-3), the District 12 champion, was playing in the PIAA final for the third time in four years. The Patriots won the 2009 Class AAA title, beating Lampeter-Strasburg, 68-45, but lost to Mt. Lebanon, 47-46, in the Class AAAA final last year. Oakland Catholic was playing in the state final for the first time since winning the 2005 Class AAAA crown.
Sarah Curran, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, had a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds. The Patriots also got 14 and 10 points and seven rebounds each from seniors Rachel Pearson and Meghan Creighton.
Archbishop Carroll had 15 assists on its 18 field goals, made 52.9 percent of its shots (18 of 34) and enjoyed a 31-24 rebounding edge. The Patriots' precision in moving the ball around the perimeter only made Oakland Catholic's struggles all the more frustrating.
"It was torture," Baker said. "It was extremely frustrating. Even when we were getting wide-open looks, we were missing."
The Eagles shot 27.3 percent (12 of 44), making 4 of 16 attempts in the first half. They had 14 turnovers to only four assists and, despite eight steals, scored only 10 points off turnovers.
"They are a fabulous team, very well-coached and experienced," Boyle said of Archbishop Carroll. "They came out and did everything right."