Serra Catholic girls bow out of PIAA postseason

Friday, March 6, 2020 | 11:46 PM

After suffering losses in the district playoffs, both Serra Catholic and Penns Manor returned to the floor in search of a bounce back effort in the PIAA Class 2A playoffs Friday evening.

The teams were jittery early, as would be expected in a one-and-done scenario.

The Comets found a way to conquer the shaky start, using a stifling defense and a dominant performance on the boards to eliminate the Eagles with a 57-34 victory at Central Cambria High School.

The runner-up from District 6, Penns Manor (24-3) held the Eagles to a lackluster offensive effort as they shot just 25% from the field. The Comets also won the battle on the glass, 37-23, and forced 20 turnovers.

Additionally, the Comets featured a balanced offensive attack with three players in double figures. Megan Dumm led the way with 20 points with 10 rebounds. Lauren Bagley notched 15 points with Kassidy Smith chipping in 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Serra Catholic (17-5) had its chances in the first quarter to jump on its opponent.

The Eagles forced six turnovers in the first eight minutes but could not take advantage of their opportunities in their offensive zone.

“We had opportunities, we got them to turn the ball over but we couldn’t convert,” Serra Catholic coach Bill Cleary said. “As opposed to the Laurel game, which I was uncomfortable with everything, tonight I was and I thought we had a chance. I’m not saying we would win, but I’m saying we would not get beat like this.”

Cleary mentioned his team was struggling with some players who were under the weather.

“I’m sure everyone this time of the year is dealing with that,” Cleary said. “I was impressed by Penns Manor, they got us on the ropes and finished us.”

The Comets took an 11-8 lead heading into the second quarter. Bagley scored seven of her points in the first but the next period belonged to Dumm. The sophomore scored 11 points in the frame as Penns Manor built a huge lead.

The Eagles hit only 2 of 12 from the floor and were outscored 21-5 in the frame.

Foul trouble started to hit Serra Catholic as well.

Rian Watson picked up her fourth foul with just under two minutes left in the first half. That occurred after Grace Navarro was called for her third just under two minutes into the quarter.

Serra never recovered.

Navarro left the game in the third with a right knee injury. She left the floor after the game on crutches and Cleary said she will be evaluated Monday.

Rebounding was definitely a contributing factor in the result as Penns Manor got several second and third chance opportunities.

“They work on those boards, they box you out and they are relentless,” Cleary said. “That’s how you have to be.”

Senior Rayna Andrews played in her last game and was steady as usual. She led Serra Catholic with a team-high 16 points and added 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Hayley McCullough came off the bench and hit the team’s only two 3-pointers.

Penns Manor plays West Middlesex on Tuesday in the PIAA second round.

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