Chartiers Valley girls stay unbeaten, edge Oakland Catholic in PIAA quarterfinals

Saturday, March 16, 2019 | 6:35 PM

Perfection is not supposed to come easy.

Oakland Catholic had two shots in the final eight seconds to tie the game and send it into overtime, but missed on both, including a last-second heave that rattled and popped out as Chartiers Valley prevailed 46-43 in a PIAA Class 5A girls basketball quarterfinal game Saturday at Peters Township.

The win keeps the Colts’ perfect record in tact at 28-0 and advances them to the semifinals Tuesday, where they will square off with Thomas Jefferson in a rematch of the WPIAL title game.

“Nothing comes easy this time of year,” Chartiers Valley first-year coach Tim McConnell said.

The game was close throughout. Oakland Catholic held a 12-11 lead after the opening quarter with senior Sierra DeAngelo scoring all 12 Eagles points.

Chartiers Valley scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second quarter and built what would be the biggest lead of the game for either team, a seven-point advantage at 21-14 midway through the second quarter.

The Eagles would claw back into the game and trailed only by two points at halftime. DeAngelo finished the first half with 16 points, but would only score two more points the rest of the contest.

Oakland Catholic tightened its half-court defense early in the third quarter and forced two 5-second violations against the Colts.

In that same time frame, the Eagles built up their biggest lead at 34-28 before a pair of 3-pointers by Chartiers Valley senior Mackenzie Wagner tied the game at 34-34.

“Mackenzie really had a big second half for us,” McConnell said. “She hit those big 3’s and also hit some clutch free throws down the stretch.”

Trailing 36-35 heading into the final quarter, Chartiers Valley scored to make it 37-36 and would never trail again.

The Colts built the lead to 43-38 and went into their four corner offense. However, struggles at the foul line by Chartiers Valley left the door open for the Eagles.

Oakland Catholic senior Alexis Sestric hit a big 3-pointer after Chartiers Valley freshman Aislin Malcolm missed a 1-and-1 foul shot that cut the Colts’ lead to 43-41.

After Wagner hit two free throws that made it 45-41 CV, Jayde Boyd drove to the hoop and scored on a layup with just over a minute left that made it 45-43 Colts.

Then, CV junior Megan McConnell missed two free throws, but was able to charge in and tie up the rebound for a jump ball call with the arrow pointing in Chartiers Valley favor.

“That may have been the play of the game,” McConnell said of his daughter’s hustle play to force a tie up. “That was big in that we were able to kill more time and end up with a point out of it.”

After the Colts took more time of the clock, Malcolm hit one of two free throws to set up the final sequence.

Oakland Catholic was not in the bonus, so Chartiers Valley fouled with 8 seconds left.

After a timeout, Sestric took the inbound and fired a 3 from behind the top of the key. The shot hit the back of the rim and bounced out toward the free throw line. After a furious scramble, the ball bounced to junior Margaret Terry who launched a desperation shot with one second left that banked off the glass, hit the front of the rim, back off the glass and out.

“I thought it was in,” a relieved McConnell said. “From where I was, I thought that shot was going in.”

Maybe the Colts got a little help from St. Patrick?

“We got a little lucky there. Maybe it’s because I was wearing my green,” McConnell said.

Oakland Catholic ended its season with a 22-5 record and losses in the district semifinals and state quarterfinals.

The Eagles were led with 19 points by Sestric and 18 points for DeAngelo, two seniors playing their final game in an Oakland Catholic uniform.

The Colts were led by Wagner’s 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Both Malcolm and McConnell scored 11 points.

This was only the second time all year Chartiers Valley won a game by only one possession.

The other came in a 41-38 triumph Jan. 24 against the same Thomas Jefferson team the Colts will play Tuesday with a trip to the state finals in Hershey at stake.

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