Hollidaysburg’s Bella Vent is fouled by Oakland Catholic’s London Creach.
By John Hartsock
KITTANNING — Losses do not come any much more brutal than the 1 that the Hollidaysburg Lady Golden Tigers basketball group endured Wednesday evening.
Hollidaysburg showed grit, guts and gumption to place collectively a ten-point run and wipe out a 38-29 deficit at the 3-quarter pole against Oakland Catholic in their PIAA Class 5A second-round playoff game at the Armstrong Junior-Senior Higher College gymnasium.
Hollidaysburg, which entered the game with a ideal 25- record and quantity 1 state ranking in its classification, grabbed a 47-46 lead on a pair of foul shots by senior guard Sydney Lear with 13 secconds left.
Immediately after an errant Oakland Catholic inbounds pass in the final seconds, Hollidaysburg regained possession and appeared to have the game won, but Oakland Catholic lightning-rapid senior guard Alexa Washington had other suggestions.
The Division I North Florida commit sped in front of a Hollidaysburg inbounds pass, created the interception, and drove to the basket for a game-winning layup with just 4 seconds displaying on the clock, lifting the Lady Eagles to a beautiful 48-47 victory.
“We lost in the second round of the state playoffs final year, and it was in my thoughts that I didn’t want it to go via that once again,” Washington mentioned. “They (Hollidaysburg) had been stacked up, I was guarding two players, and I felt like a DB (defensive back) out there.
“Once I got the ball, there was only 1 issue to do — finish the layup,” Washington added.
Oakland Catholic, the WPIAL runner-up, enhanced to 24-four and will play McKeesport in a quarterfinal game Saturday at a web page and time to be determined. McKeesport sophisticated with a 63-25 second-round win more than Penn-Trafford Wednesday.
“It was a excellent finish,” Oakland Catholic coach Eddie Benton, Jr. mentioned. “It was a game of runs — that is playoff basketball. We lucked up at the finish.
“Hollidaysburg is a incredibly scrappy group and they’re incredibly properly-coached,” Benton added. “We decided to place on a press, we got a fortunate steal, and Lexi (Washington) place it in for us.”
The beautiful set of events broke the hearts of a Hollidaysburg coaching employees and its players that deserved a superior fate.
“This group has a lot of fight,” mentioned visibly emotional Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck, who has directed the Lady Tigers to a 51-three cumulative record more than the previous two seasons. “They have all year, considering that practice began in November.
“That’s just the type of grit that this group of little ones has shown,” Jubeck added. “Any time that we’ve faced adversity, this group has rallied, and gone on a run.”
It occurred once again Wednesday, as Hollidaysburg reeled off ten straight points to commence the fourth quarter and convert the 38-29 deficit into a 39-38 benefit with three:56 left.
Immediately after senior center Alison Hatijak began the surge with a absolutely free throw, Lear hit a medium-variety jumper and followed with a three-pointer from the top rated of the circle to draw Hollidaysburg to inside 3 points, 38-35.
Lear followed with a pair of absolutely free throws ahead of freshman McKenna Weimert hit a baseline jumper to give the Lady Tigers the 39-38 lead.
“We knew that we had to choose items up on the defensive finish, and we changed matchups and we had been in a position to press up a tiny bit on their guards a tiny bit,” Jubeck mentioned.
The lead went back and forth in the final 4 minutes. Immediately after sophomore Bella Vent connected on a jumper from the ideal corner to place Hollidaysburg ahead, 41-38, Washington hit a pair of absolutely free throws and a layup to regain the lead for Oakland Catholic, 42-41.
Lear’s absolutely free throw tied the game for Hollidaysburg, but Washington hit two absolutely free throws to place Oakland Catholic back in front, 44-42.
Vent converted a classic three-point play, scoring a layup off a feed from sophomore Lauren Stevenson, drawing a foul, and hitting a absolutely free throw to place the Lady Tigers up, 45-44 with 26 seconds left.
Senior forward Jill Gallo’s speedy-break layup place Oakland Catholic back in front, 46-45, ahead of Lear’s two absolutely free throws gave Hollidaysburg its final lead of the game, 47-46.
Lear led all scorers with 19 points, although Vent added 11 and Hatijak pulled down a game-higher 11 rebounds for Hollidaysburg.
Sophomore guard London Creach scored 15 points and Washington added 14 for Oakland Catholic.
“I’m just actual proud of all of us,” Lear, 1 of Hollidaysburg’s 4 seniors, mentioned. “We played tough for 32 minutes and fought back tonight.”
That is been Hollidaysburg’s modus operandi all season.
“All year extended, no one but our 18 players and 5 coaches believed in our group of little ones,” Jubeck mentioned. “But our players, and our seniors specially, place their heart and soul into this and gave it every thing they had considering that November.”
HOLLIDAYSBURG (47): Lear four ten-11 19, Hatijak 1 two-six five, Vent five 1-1 11, Stitt – , Stevenson two – six, Weimert two – four, Steiner – , DiPangrazio – , Shoemaker 1 – two. Totals – 15 13-18 47.
OAKLAND CATHOLIC (48): Hill – , Haver three 1-two eight, Washington five four-four 14, Creach four five-five 15, Gallo two 1-two five, Schorr two-two two, Hintemyer 1 – two, Fontana 1 – two. Totals -16 13-15 48.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hollidaysburg 9 eight 12 18 — 47
Oakland Catholic 11 13 14 ten — 48
three-point ambitions: Hollidaysburg four (Stevenson two, Hatijak, Lear): Oakland Catholic three (Creach two, Haver):
Records: Hollidaysburg (25-1) Oakland Catholic (24-four).
Officials: James Lambert, Tim Chapman, Karen Davis.
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