Rayvon Donald did the job on both ends, with a rebound and put back and followed with a steal all in the final minute to seal a 66-59 win for the Steelton-Highspire Rollers over the North Catholic Trojanettes in the PIAA Girls Class A championship game at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Rollers claim back to back championships, defeating Bishop Guilfoyle last season 73-60. Junior Malia Tate-DeFreitas averaged 32.4 points per game to lead the state, she struggled from the field shooting 5 of 21, but still led the Rollers with 18 points. She also contributed with eight rebounds and nine assists. It was only the third time this season that she was held under twenty points in a game.
Amber Hess-Moore stepped up the scoring with 17 points, including five of seven triples. Amber Anderson added 13 points and seven rebounds. Donald only scored eight points but controlled the glass, with 9 rebounds.
Lauren Wolosik led the Trojanettes with 18 points, North Catholic picks up the silver medals for the second time this season, falling to Vincentian Academy in the WPIAL championship game. Coach Molly Rottman put it into perspective, saying that you are never happy to lose, but that North Catholic was one of the top two teams in the state and she was proud of her girls.
The first quarter was bombs away from behind the arc, Steel-High hit the first three shots they took to build a 9-3 lead, including a pair of downtown three's for Malia Tate-DeFreitas. The Rollers were 5 of 8 from downtown in the quarter, North Catholic was 2 of 4 with a pair of three's for Lynzi Mueller.
Both teams struggled from the field in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Anderson put Steel High up by ten points for the second time in the game. After the media timeout midway thru the quarter, North Catholic went on an eleven point run, with six coming from Lauren Wolosik, it was a layup by Courtney Wolosik that gave the Trojanettes the lead at 29-28. Steel High had trouble from the line in the first half, shooting just four of ten.
North Catholic opened up a four point lead to start the second half but Steel High slowly pulled away led by Anderson and Tate-DeFreitas to take a six point lead at 47-41, but Mueller and Lauren Wolosik were not done, scoring late in the quarter to cut the deficit to two after three.
Tina Ferrari knotted the game at 47, 68 seconds into the final period. Steel-High took back a four point lead on a Hess-Moore three. With Steel High still up four, Hess-Moore fouled Angela Nowacki and was also hit with a technical foul, North Catholic only hit two of the four free throws and turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.
Hess-Moore made up for the T by hitting a three from the deep left wing to put Steel High up 58-53. Coach Jeffery Chisholm said he was not surprised by the technical foul, but that he knew she would fight back and drained the three.
Steel High struggled to field a team a few years ago, Chisholm credited the hard work by his girls to continue to develop a program and with DeFreitas, Hess-Moore and Jazmine Blanding back next year, the Rollers future continues to shine bright.
The Rollers finish 27-3 and on a five game winning streak. Steel High shot 22 of 58 from the field and 8 of 16 from behind the arc. If Steel High had any flaws, they were from the line, shooting just 14 of 23.
Mueller scored 12 points and Ferrari 10 for the Trojanettes, who finish 24-7. North Catholic was 23 of 54 from the field and 10 of 16 from the line, they also committed 23 turnovers, including five in the final 3:52 of the game.
Score by Quarters:
North Catholic Trojanettes 14-17-14-14 = 59
Steelton-Highspire Rollers 22-9-16-19 = 66