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Fields, Vincent, Harvey, Defense Lifts Kennedy Catholic to Third Straight PIAA Girls’ Title-Game Appearance

Kennedy Catholic's Bella Magestro (No. 2) is greeted by teammate Lochlyn Shimrock during the pregame introductions. Photo by Chris Rossetti

WEXFORD, Pa. – Heading into the PIAA Class 2A girls’ semifinal rematch between Kennedy Catholic and Greensburg Central Catholic Monday night at North Allegheny High School, there was some chatter from the GCC side about how they wanted this matchup after Kennedy Catholic beat the Centurions a year ago on its way to the state championship.

Perhaps Greensburg Central Catholic will think twice about wanting to face Kennedy Catholic after the Golden Eagles advanced to the PIAA title game for the third straight season – the second straight time in Class 2A – with a dominating 61-45 win that wasn’t even as competitive as the final score might indicate.

“No, not really,” Kennedy Catholic head coach Justin Magestro said when asked if all the talk coming from the GCC side was used as motivation for his team. “We look at each game one at a time. We realize we’re zero and zero and every opponent we face is our next opponent.

“I know there was a lot of talk. We tried to shield our kids from that. There was stuff in the different newspapers of chanting in the stands and all that, but we don’t buy into that. We just got out and play hard. We feel we need to focus our energy on us. Our biggest thing every day in practice is focused on Kennedy Catholic getting better. We don’t really use that.”

How much motivation is really needed is debatable anyhow when you have the inside-outside punch of Layke Fields and Monique Vincent.


The junior duo, as they have done throughout the playoffs, led the way once again for the Golden Eagles (24-4).

Fields was her usual dominant self going 9 of 11 from the field while scoring a game-high 26 points and finishing another double-double with 13 rebounds. This despite getting double-teamed a lot of the night.

“It feels good knowing my teammates and coaches believe in me to make a play no matter if I am getting double-teamed or not,” Fields said. “With them believing in me, I feel I believe in myself even more. It feels amazing to me.”

Fields scores a basket late in the first quarter


Greensburg Central Catholic (23-7) couldn’t spend all of its defensive energy worrying about Fields.

Not when Vincent was on fire from the outside again hitting five more 3-pointers, her third straight game of five triples giving her 19 in four PIAA playoff games. She was unofficially 5 of 6 from behind the arc making her 15 of 21 from 3-point range in her last three contests.

“I just know my teammates have confidence in me,” Vincent said. “That gives me more confidence to shoot my shots.”

Vincent’s range is pretty much the gym after she nailed one from the volleyball attack line in the first half, part of a four-3-pointer half for the point guard.

“Those are layups for her,” Magestro said. “She has just been on fire. She’s been on fire the last five games. It’s one of those things. In any sport, you have to get hot at the right time of the year. I really feel our kids are getting hot at the right time of the year. Everybody’s playing off each other. It’s really easy to just look at the stats. But, if you look at everybody that’s involved, everyone plays a piece in it.”

With Fields and Vincent combining for 29 first-half points, Kennedy Catholic shook off a bit of a slow start to take a 36-21 halftime lead.

The Golden Eagles trailed 8-6 early but used a 22-6 run that included 10 points apiece from Fields and Vincent to build the double-digit advantage.

“I think our experience helps us a lot,” Fields said. “We are able to stay calm and do good.”

Vincent hit three 3-pointer during the run, including the pull-up triple from the volleyball ine.

“I know as soon as it leaves her hand, it’s going in,” Bella Magestro, the coach’s daughter who had a 3-pointer of her own during the run, said. “I have so much faith in her.”


While the offensive effort was there, it was really the Kennedy Catholic defense that stepped to the forefront to send the Golden Eagles back to Hershey.

After allowing eight points in the first 4:09, Kennedy Catholic gave up 21 over the next 19:51 allowing the Golden Eagles to build a 51-29 lead going to the fourth quarter.

“When we apply the pressure that we do and make teams uncomfortable, it just wears them down,” Justin Magestro said. “As the game moves on, physically, you get tired. That affects you mentally. I have to give a lot of credit to (assistant coach) Drew Magestro. He has taken over our defense this year. I just think it has been incredible.”

Kennedy Catholic’s defense denies Greensburg Central Catholic a scoring chance late in the first quarter

The defense limited Greensburg Central Catholic’s top three scorers Erica Gribble (20.2 ppg), Mya Morgan (15.1 ppg), and Avery Davis (14.2 ppg) to a grand total of 32 points, 17 points below their combined average.

“My hats go over to Tori Harvey and Bella Magestro,” Justin Magestro said. “They played the two best players and limited them to (25 points) that’s pretty darn good.”

Vincent credited Harvey, only a freshman, with shutting down Gribble.

“She is an outstanding player, a phenomenal basketball player,” Vincent said. “We knew it was going to be a tough defensive assignment. We gave that to Tori, and I think she did absolutely amazing job guarding her.”

Watch Vincent and Bella Magestro’s postgame interview

Harvey wasn’t just important on the defensive end, she also scored 11 points, the third most in the game for the Golden Eagles.

“I am very excited (for her),” Fields said. “I know I was very excited when I went (to the state championship game) my freshman year. Being able to go your freshman year, it feels great. I am so happy for her.”

Watch Field’s full postgame interview


The victory sets up a showdown with District 6 champion Marion Center, a 60-47 winner over Minersville in the other semifinal game, at Noon Thursday, March 21, at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

“As far as trying to get back there, it takes a lot of different things,” Justin Magestro said. “Our administration from the president to the principal to the teachers, everybody is there. Our fans, we had a sea of red up there. They support us on the road. My families are unbelievable. All my parents are very supportive of the kids. They are very supportive of our program. That makes it a lot easier for the coaching staff to coach.”

Magestro also said some luck was involved in helping the Golden Eagles become the first girls’ team from Western Pennsylvania to make three straight PIAA title games since Vincentian Academy made three in a row from 2013-15.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you win state championships because you are the best team,” Justin Magestro said. “You have to have luck too. We were injury-free. Our kids love each other. Our kids truly are a family. There is no inner squabbling. Nobody’s bigger than the team. Everybody knows their role, and they buy into their role. They buy into the concept that no one is bigger than the team.”

It feels amazing – We have been putting work in since the first day of the season. It feels good to know we have put in enough work to get back to the state championship game


Score by Quarters

Kennedy Catholic 16 20 15 10 – 61
Greensburg CC 13 8 8 16 – 45


Madison Pfleger 0 2-2 2, Monique Vincent 5 2-4 17, Bella Magestro 1 0-0 3, Layke Fields 10 6-15 26, Lochlyn Shimrock 1 0-0 2, Tori Harvey 5 1-2 11. Totals 22 11-23 61.


Jayla Peterson 4 2-2 12, Mya Morgan 5 3-4 14, Avery Davis 2 0-0 6, Erica Gribble 4 3-4 11, Abigail Dlugos 0 0-0 0, Cara Dupika 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 8-10 45.

Three-pointers: Kennedy Catholic 6 (Vincent 5, Magestro 1). Greensburg Central Catholic 5 (Peterson 2, Davis 2, Gribble 1).


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