Feb 24, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Maybe the Christian Brothers Academy girls basketball team is developing a habit for winning close games – and if so, it hopes that trend continues on a permanent basis.
The no. 5 seed Brothers squeaked past no. 4 seed Liverpool, 47-46, in Thursday night’s Section III Class AA quarterfinal, trailing most of the night before Ellen Voorheis sank two free throws with 13.1 seconds to play. Then it had to watch as the Warriors’ Sydney Califoux missed a close-up shot as time ran out.
This came less than a week after CBA had secured the OHSL Freedom National division regular-season title by rallying in the last minute to beat Jamesville-DeWitt 46-44. Then, as now, Voorheis put in the winning points in the final minute to rescue the Brothers after it was behind through much of the contest.
CBA had met Liverpool back on Dec. 17, during the Traci Zimmer Memorial Tournament at Central Square. That time, the Warriors prevailed 52-46, but the close nature of that contest gave the Brothers a reason to think a playoff rematch would turn out different.
But neither side impressed in the first quarter. In fact, CBA did not get a field goal until the game was more than seven minutes old. Still, when Olivia Pitonzo hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Brothers only trailed 12-8 going into the second period.
Thanks to Shannon Seymour’s eight points off the bench, Liverpool expanded its margin to 25-17 by halftime. But CBA fought back in the third quarter, again riding the talents of sophmore Marisa Romeo, who had seven of her 16 points in that frame to pull her side within one, 31-30, as the final period began.
Twice in the fourth quarter, Liverpool stretched out its lead, to 36-30 and 42-37, the latter when Ally Zywicki banked in a 3-pointer. Both times, CBA closed the gap, finally tying it 42-42 on Voorheis’ 3-pointer with 4:22 left.
It was still even, 44-44, when, with 1:23 to play, Romeo hit a free throw to nudge CBA in front, only to have Seymour answer with a jumper from the corner with 55 seconds left, setting up the final sequence.
Several times, CBA had shots to reclaim the lead and missed – but it chased down the misses in a prolonged possession until Voorheis was fouled. Calmly, Voorheis hit both of her foul shots, giving her 12 points for the night.
Liverpool called time-out with nine seconds left. After a foul with 2.1 seconds to play, the ball was inbounded in the right corner, in front of the Warriors’ bench. Chalifoux, with just two points all night, was unguarded and flashed open for the possible winning shot – but it rolled off the rim, and CBA had survived.
Yet getting past the AA semifinal might take a greater effort, as on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at LeMoyne College the Brothers meet no. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Cicero-North Syracuse, led by Connecticut-bound star center Breanna Stewart.
The winner will play Fayetteville-Manilus or Utica Proctor in next Sunday’s final at 5:30 at Utica Memorial Auditorium.