Drew Karpen previews Saturday's PIAA Class A championship between Vincentian and Old Forge.
For the fifth year in a row, Vincentian won a PIAA playoff game, but just as they had the previous four years, the Royals fell short of reaching the title game.
Vincentian (17-10) saw another excellent season end after a 97-90 loss to Clarion-Limestone in a PIAA Class A second-round game last Tuesday at Sharon.
The Royals led by eight points at the half, but Clarion-Limestone upped its play in the second half to storm back and grab the win. Ryan Wolf and Jamison Nee led the Royals with 21 points apiece, while Jay Cortese added 17.
Vincentian's loss was its third in the second round of the PIAA playoffs in the last five seasons. The Royals reached the quarterfinals last season and the semifinals in 2011.
Two more hills to climb for the Vincentian Academy girls basketball team. Following this past Saturday's 74-46 victory over District 10 champion Kennedy Catholic at North Allegheny, the Royals are once again playing in another PIAA Class A semifinal.
This time, however, the opponent is an unfamiliar and -- on paper, anyway -- an inexperienced one.
But the Blairsville High Bobcats have shown themselves to be tournament ready. Earning first-ever triumphs in the first round and second round, the Bobcats continued that trend with a 58-47 victory over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in the quarterfinal round this past Saturday at Plum. That win improved Blairsville's record to 26-2.
It was pointed out to Vincentian coach Ron Moncrief that his team hasn't seen
Vincentian Academy's girls basketball team will never be able to avenge its only loss of the season as it came against Class AA power Seton-LaSalle. But the Royals won't shed too many tears over the loss to the Rebels if they continue to play as well as they've played since that 72-68 loss in December on their home court.
The WPIAL champion Royals, 26-1, tore through the WPIAL playoffs, and they showed no sign in slowing down with an 82-25 victory over Southern Fulton, the No. 3 team from District 5, in a PIAA Class A opening-round game this past Saturday at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
Pitt recruit Brenna Wise nearly had a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. Wise had 16 first-quarter points as Vincentian scored the game's first 21 points. Maia Joiner scored nine of her 14 points in the first quarter and Kiersten Elliott added 11.
The Royals meet Bishop Carroll, the No. 3 team from District 6, on Wednesday at Hempfield at 6 p.m. The Huskies improved to 19-6 with a 40-39 victory over Clarion this past Saturday.
Joe Koch profiles the Vincentian girls basketball team.
"In the early stages of Saturday's WPIAL Class A girls basketball championship game at Petersen Events Center, Vincentian Academy faced an initial challenge from arch-rival Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
It didn't last long.
Leading by just two points, the Royals displayed an intensely relentless, suffocating defense that completely took the Trojanettes out of their offensive patterns and forced nine first-quarter turnovers. And when a defense forces turnovers, good things usually happen at the other end of the floor.
That is exactly what happened as the Royals went on a 17-2 tear to take a 23-6 lead, and essentially put the game out of reach. They secured their fourth consecutive WPIAL Class A championship with a 74-35 pasting of the Trojanettes."