Bishop Canevin girls put stop to Riverview’s run

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Thursday, February 20, 2020 | 8:35 PM


After coming from behind to pull off a mild upset of No. 7 Burgettstown in the first round of the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs last week, the Riverview girls basketball team hoped to keep its winning ways intact Thursday against No. 2 Bishop Canevin at Hampton.

The Raiders entered the game winners of five in a row, but the Crusaders prevented them from extending the victory streak.

Bishop Canevin took the lead for good early in the second quarter, held a 12-point advantage at halftime and pulled away in the second half for a 66-41 quarterfinal victory.

“We saw Riverview against Burgettstown, and we knew they were going to come in and battle,” Crusaders coach Jim Kaczorowski said. “When our point guard (Diajha Allen) got into some early foul trouble, it took away some of our speed. We like to play with that speed and get it and go. We also were hurt a little bit on our press. We took off the press, and everything seemed to fall in line after that.”

Allen and Bishop Canevin’s other 1,000-point scorer, senior Alyssa Pollice, combined to score 42 of their team’s 66 points. Pollice scored 15 points on five 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished with a game-best 28.

Allen scored 12 of her 14 points over the second and third quarters as the Crusaders outscored the Raiders, 40-20. Ashley Lippold came off the bench to scored 10 points for the victors.

Bishop Canevin (17-6) advances to the semifinals Monday against No. 6 Ellis School at a site and time to be determined. The win also puts the Crusaders in the PIAA playoffs.

Bishop Canevin, undefeated this year against 2A opponents, remains alive in the pursuit of its fifth WPIAL title in the past eight seasons.

“I am super excited to do this with the girls I love the most,” Pollice said.

Despite the loss, Riverview (15-9) is not done. The Raiders can still make the state playoffs under the follow-the-winner format for determining additional playoff teams.

Six WPIAL teams in 2A advance to states, and Riverview needs Bishop Canevin to make the WPIAL championship game next Thursday evening at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

“This is the first time all year we don’t control our own destiny,” Raiders coach Keith Stitt said. “All year, we’ve controlled things like where we were at in the (section) standings, making the playoffs, and getting the best seed we could. We’ll take a couple of days off to regroup and refresh our minds.

“Bishop Canevin is a pretty good basketball team. They shot lights out at times and played with a lot of speed. We turned the ball over too much, and you’re not beating a good team by doing that.”

Seniors Francesca Lio and Sydney McDonough each scored 10 points to lead Riverview.

Riverview overcame eight turnovers in the first quarter and a couple of other empty possessions early on to hold an 11-10 lead after eight minutes of play.

But Bishop Canevin scored the first six points of the second quarter and used a 13-2 run overall to push its lead to double figures at 23-13.

Bishop Canevin’s defensive pressure and Riverview passing miscues combined as the Raiders turned the ball over seven more times in the second.

“We changed defenses really quickly and focused on getting stops,” Pollice said. “Running in transition is better for us, and that’s how we get going.”

Listen to an archived broadcast of this game at Trib HSSN.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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