No. 4 OLSH girls use 2nd-quarter surge to topple No. 5 Serra Catholic

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 10:40 PM

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart used a run in the second quarter to take control after a back-and-forth opening frame en route to a 56-40 victory over No. 5-seeded Serra Catholic in a WPIAL Class 2A girls basketball quarterfinal Thursday at Canon-McMillan.

“The second quarter has been very good for us this year,” OLSH coach Don Eckerle said. “We were able to hit some shots and build on it.”

Senior Ashley Norling was a big part of the No. 4 Chargers’ first half success, scoring 18 of her game-high 29 points in the first half.

“I think you got a chance to see the whole package here,” Eckerle said. “She handles the ball well and is able to get it to other players. We rely on her, and once again she came through for us.”

Serra Catholic (18-5) struggled with its half-court offense in the first half.

“We decided not to go full-court pressure and back it up a little bit,” Eckerle said. “I think that was very advantageous for us, as we were able to switch off and not give them a whole lot of good looks.”

The Eagles cranked up their defense in the third quarter and limited OLSH to only eight third-quarter points.

However, Serra could not take advantage on the offensive side as the Eagles missed shots or turned the ball over after denying the Chargers points possession after possession.

Down by 10 heading into the fourth quarter, Serra Catholic could only get as close as seven points before OLSH pulled away to the 16-point victory.

Rayna Andrews led Serra Catholic with 14 points, while Gigi Mele-Madigan added 10. The Eagles need OLSH to beat Bishop Canevin in the semifinals to earn a berth in the PIAA basketball playoffs.

Not only did Norling lead all-scorers, she also went over 1,000 points for her career.

Fellow Chargers senior Maddie Hoff added 10 points in OLSH’s sixth straight win.

The Chargers will face the Crusaders on Monday with a berth in the WPIAL Class 2A title game up for grabs. Whatever site is determined, Eckerle said his team will be there.

“We all know that they’re the one that everybody has been pointing to, and I guess we get our shot on Monday,” he said. “We got a couple of days to prepare for them, so we’ll see what we’re able to do with that.”


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