Bishop Canevin’s Kaczorowski brings renewed energy

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Saturday, February 17, 2018 | 12:25 AM


In its penultimate game of the regular season, the Bishop Canevin girls basketball team was in a nail-biter with reigning WPIAL Class 5A champion Chartiers Valley. Senior Kasey Kaczorowski, Crusaders coach Scott Dibble said, made a couple of clutch 3-pointers late to keep her team within striking distance.

But in the waning moments, she missed a free throw that could have changed the outcome. The Colts hung on for a 49-48 nonsection win, and Kaczorowski, though her timely shooting was a big reason the Crusaders were close, was devastated.

Bishop Canevin was 6 for 16 from the line that afternoon, and Dibble reassured Kaczorowski her miss was no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But her reaction, the coach said, was indicative of her renewed passion for basketball.

After helping the Crusaders win the WPIAL Class AA title in 2016, Kaczorowski stepped away from the team last year.

“Last year was rough for me,” she said. “I was going through some things personally, and I didn't feel like I could contribute to my team and do what I knew I could.

“(Watching the team repeat) was kind of a mix of emotions for me. The girls on the team are my best friends, so I was happy to see them win again. But, at the same time, it was tough not to be out there with them.”

Kaczorowski came back this season reinvigorated, intent on helping Bishop Canevin (17-4, 12-0 Section 3-3A) win a third consecutive WPIAL title. She has given the Crusaders a spark off the bench, averaging 7.2 points, and helped them win 10 of their final 11 games.

The Crusaders received the top seed and a bye in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs and will play the winner of South Side and Laurel — played after deadline for this edition — in the quarterfinals Saturday.

“I bring her off the bench, and we don't skip a beat,” Dibble said. “She's probably our best 3-point shooter. When you give her the space, she's going to knock down that 3-point shot. And she's a leader. It's her last year, and she wants to leave her mark on the program.”

Kaczorowski's ability to hit an open 3 has been complemented by improved shooting with defenders in her face. She played for a different AAU team, Steal City, over the summer and credited coach Gus Costa with helping her to be more confident getting off shots under pressure.

There has been plenty of pressure for the Crusaders this season. As a two-time reigning WPIAL champion, they have been getting every opponent's best shot every night.

Kaczorowski said she believes the team has handled it well, and it hopes to ride its momentum for a few more weeks in pursuit of a WPIAL trifecta as well as a PIAA title.

The Crusaders made it to the state finals last season, losing to Neumann-Goretti. Kaczorowski wants to finish the job.

“I don't want to jinx anything, but we're confident in ourselves, and, hopefully, that will take us where we want to be,” she said. “Our team chemistry is better than it's ever been going into the playoffs, and we don't have to rely on one person to do all the scoring.”

Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @CCurti_Trib.

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