Cardinal O’Hara shuts down Chartiers Valley in state title game again

Friday, March 25, 2022 | 7:17 PM

HERSHEY – For the second consecutive year, Chartiers Valley lost to Cardinal O’Hara in the PIAA girls basketball Class 5A championship game, dropping a 42-19 decision Friday evening at Giant Center.

Chartiers Valley never found its shooting touch, going almost 15 minutes in the middle of the game without a field goal and finishing with the lowest point total in girls championship game history.

The Colts (28-3) also had a difficult time finding the bottom of the hoop last year, dropping that decision to the Lions 51-27.

“(Cardinal O’Hara) took us out of our stuff. That’s why they’re a great team,” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said after his team was held to 5 for 28 shooting. “They get in the gaps, and they don’t let you get to the rim.”

Cardinal O’Hara jumped out to an 8-0 lead but then ran into some shooting issues of its own. During the Lions’ seven-minute drought, the Colts were able to even the score 8-8 with field goals by Perri Paige and Aislin Malcolm and free throws by Paige and Marian Turnbull.

After that brief tie, the Lions made the surge that decided the game. Greta Miller made a 3-point shot on the next possession to put Cardinal O’Hara ahead to stay. Then, before the half, Annie Welde made an off-balance trey after the Colts nearly forced a turnover to carry a 17-11 lead into the locker room.

The Lions scored a pair of treys, by Sydni Scott and Maggie Doogan, to open up a 23-11 lead early in the third. Meanwhile, the Colts were held to four free throws and no field goals in the third period.

“Like last year, we knew they were physical and made it hard to get to the rim,” McConnell said. “We knew we had to hit open shots.”

But Hallie Cowan’s 3-point basket in the second quarter was the only deep shot Chartiers Valley made in 11 tries. After that, the Colts did not get any field goals until Ella Cupka made a layup with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.

Doogan led all players with 12 points. Welde had 11. Cardinal O’Hara was 15 for 37 from the floor, including a 9 for 21 effort from beyond the arc.

Malcolm, Page and Turnbull scored four points each for the Colts. All are members of a senior class that went 110-7 in four years. They were in the state finals all three years the season was able to be completed, winning the 2019 title 53-40 over Archbishop Carroll. The Colts were still playing and had qualified for the state quarterfinals when the pandemic and resulting shutdowns canceled the remainder of the 2020 tournament.

“We’re not going to let a state championship game define us,” McConnell said.

Paige had a game-high nine rebounds, though Cardinal O’Hara out rebounded Chartiers Valley 27-19.


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