Feb 23, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Far too many times, the Christian Brothers Academy girls basketball could only watch as Corcoran’s Mary Morgan squared up and sent her line-drive 3-point shots toward the rim, and watched them crash through the net.
It happened eight times overall, and that, combined with Morgan’s contributions down the stretch, led the no. 3 seed Cougars past the no. 2 seed Brothers 64-61 in Friday night’s Section III Class AA semifinal at Le Moyne College.
All told, Morgan had 29 points, a career high, as she fueled a 21-0 run in the second quarter that turned the game around, and continued to hurt the Brothers multiple ways until she sank the clinching free throws in the waning seconds.
Since it had moved up to the Class AA ranks, CBA had never reached a sectional final. Doing so required beating a Corcoran side that had a solid combination of inside power and outside shooting prowess.
They started out trading 3-pointers. The Brothers fared better in the early trade, connecting five times beyond the arc in the first quarter against Corcoran’s 2-3 zone, three of them from Olivia Pitonzo.
Up by nine, 15-6, at one point, CBA allowed the Cougars to pull back to 19-14 by the time they reached the second period, only to move the lead back to 26-16, appearing to seize control.
Just as quickly, though, Corcoran erupted. Led by Morgan, the Cougars stunned the Brothers for those 21 unanswered points in a span of less than five minutes to take the lead for good.
Morgan had 11 of those points, three times draining 3-pointers, adding to the two she already had made, on her way to 17 first-half points. Aside from Morgan’s outside shooting, Corcoran got two baskets apiece from Brandi Fowler and Zachia Gayle during the surge.
Not until Julie Cuomo’s 3-pointer in the last seconds of the half did the run end. CBA found itself trailing 37-29 at the break, needing to change its defensive approach if it wanted to rally.
But Corcoran continued to hit outside shots in the third quarter, stretching the margin to 45-31 at one point as Morgan added two more 3-pointers, giving her seven for the night and 23 points overall.
Down 52-41 with one quarter left, the Brothers nearly made it all the way back. After an exchange of baskets, Cuomo connected on a pair of 3-pointers to shrink the deficit to 61-56 with more than two minutes left.
Picking up full-court pressure, CBA forced Corcoran to turn it over. Alyssa Pitonzo’s basket made it 61-58 with 1:08 left, and a Marisa Romeo free throw with 36.3 seconds to play cut it to two.
When CBA forced another steal, it had a chance to tie or go ahead with a 3-pointer. But Morgan blocked one shot, and after taking the inbounds pass, Romeo’s jumper slid off the rim, and she promptly fouled Morgan with 12.3 seconds left.
Put in the spotlight again, Morgan made the front end of a one-and-one and missed the second shot – but chased down her own rebound, leading to another foul.
Now Morgan made both ends of the one-and-one with 8.5 seconds left, making it 64-59, and though Romeo converted again to cut it to three with 2.6 seconds left, the Cougars threw a deep pass to make sure CBA didn’t get another chance.
Cuomo paced the Brothers with 25 points, while Romeo, in her last basketball outing for the Brothers, put in 18 points. Olivia Pitonzo finished with 11 points. Morgan got help from Jasmine Davis, who had 14 points before fouling out late in the game, and Shauntesha Bryant, who got 13 points.