OIL CITY, Pa. – Villa Maria put on a clinic on both ends of the floor in Wednesday’s PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal game against Blackhawk, knocking off the previously unbeaten Cougars in impressive fashion, 54-27.
The Victors (24-2) led wire-to-wire, taking a seven-point lead at halftime, and outscored the Cougars (26-1) 32-12 in the second half.
“I’m ecstatic for our girls,” said Villa coach Doug Chuzie. “The preparation, the time and effort they put in and then to watch them execute was fun.”
Chuzie was also in-tune to what the Cougars were feeling afterward.
“My heart goes out to Blackhawk, to their seniors, to their coaches,” he said. “They’re a phenomenal program, one that we admire, so it’s mixed emotions.”
Villa took a 22-15 lead at halftime and took a double-digit lead, 28-15 on a Jayden McBride three. The lead never dipped below double figures the rest of the way
It was part of a 17-point effort for McBride, who drained four triples.
The Victors were able to weather early foul trouble as Carissa Dunham and Daniela Shaughnessy, two of their three leading scorers on the season, both picked up three first-half fouls.
With both players on the bench, Lena Walz knocked down a pair of shots and Addie Biel another as the margin swelled to 10, 22-12 before Blackhawk’s Casey Nixon knocked down a triple just before the half to make it 22-15.
Walz talked about the win afterward:
“We got in a little foul trouble early,” Chuzie noted. “It was an aggressive game on both ends. Our kids, I think, adjusted and guarded accordingly following that. Credit goes to the girls for communicating and figuring that out.”
Villa was also able to effectively execute against Blackhawk’s full-court press, leading to some high-percentage opportunities.
“Teams this time of year tend to be up in you and full-court press,” Chuzie said. “We were fortunate to make a couple of plays, get a few layups and that might have backed them off a little bit.”
A McBride layup, a three from Dunham, and a pair of free throws from Walz saw the lead swell to 25 in the fourth quarter, and the Victors were able to empty their bench late in the game.
Shaugnessy and Walz were also in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Alena Fusetti led Blackhawk with eight points.
For the game, Villa limited Blackhawk to just eight made field goals.
“One night does not allow for a judgment on that Blackhawk team,” Chuzie said. “We happened to play well. We finished layups, knocked down some shots, but that is one phenomenal team. It just happened to go our way tonight.”
The Victors are now one step away from getting back to Hershey and the PIAA championship game, where they were a year ago, finishing as runner-up after getting upended by Archbishop Wood in the title game.
With the win, the Victors advance to play Lansdale Catholic, a 40-36 winner over Delone Catholic, on Saturday at a site and time to be determined. Archbishop Wood will meet Jim Thorpe in the other semifinal.
VILLA MARIA 54, BLACKHAWK 27
Blackhawk 10 5 7 5 – 27
Villa Maria 13 9 16 16 – 54
BLACKHAWK – 27
Kassie Potts 1-0-3-3, Quinn Boronni 1-2-2-4, Alena Fusetti 3-1-2-8, Casey Nixon 1-0-0-3, Jillian Mannarino 2-1-2-6, Deryn Moye 0-2-2-2, Haly Romigh 0-1-2-1, Kayrene Kinger 0-0-0-0, Maddie Syka 0-0-0-0, Piper Romigh 0-0-0-0, Totals 8-7-13-27.
VILLA MARIA – 54
Carissa Dunham 1-0-0-3, Tori Mayes 2-1-2-5, McKenna Valone 0-1-2-1, Jayden McBride 5-3-4-17, Daniela Shaughnessy 5-2-6-12, Lena Walz 3-3-4-10, Addie Biel 2-0-0-4, Ava Lucarotti 0-0-1-0, Abigail Corsale 1-0-0-2, Alexis Cruz 0-0-0-0, Aliece Taylor 0-0-0-0, Aundraya Neavins 0-0-2-0, Ally Nawrocki 0-0-0-0, Katherine McCormick 0-0-0-0, Totals 19-10-21-54.
Three-pointers: Blackhawk 4 (Potts, Fusetti, Nixon, Mannarino); Villa 6 (McBride 4, Dunham, Walz).