7th-seeded Bishop Canevin tops Aquinas Academy for WPIAL Class A title

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Saturday, March 5, 2022 | 1:14 PM


The Bishop Canevin Crusaders may have been seeded No. 7 in the WPIAL Class A girls basketball playoffs, but that only seemed to fuel them.

Bishop Canevin defeated fourth-seeded Aquinas Academy, 59-40, in the Class A championship game Saturday at Petersen Events Center. It was Bishop Canevin’s sixth WPIAL title, and all six have come in the last eight years.

Bishop Canevin defeated second-seeded West Greene in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Union in the semifinals.

First-year coach Maddie Bazelak said that throughout the year, the team’s motto has been, “only us.”

“Even if we are not the highest seed, it didn’t really matter who we were going to play,” she said.

Bishop Canevin never trailed in the game, taking an 18-14 lead after the first quarter on 7-of-14 shooting, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range.

Four of five Bishop Canevin starters — Ashley Lippold, Rachel Boehm, Josie Bochicchio and Mackenzie Huet — had 13 points in the game. Senior Amber Cross contributed seven points off the bench.

Aquinas Academy also shot 50% from the floor in the first quarter and found its biggest scoring surge of the game when it went on a 6-0 run near the end of the period.

Seniors Elizabeth Russell and Emilia Kartsonas each had 14 points in the game, combining for 28 of the their team’s 40 total points.

Bishop Canevin kept extending its lead further and further on the strength of pressure defense and control of the glass.

Bishop Canevin forced 17 turnovers in the game and out-rebounded Aquinas Academy, 33-24. BC capitalized often on its offense rebounds, scoring 11 second-chance points. The lead ballooned to 46-32 at the end of the third quarter, powered by an 8-0 run.

Lippold has been a phenomenal all-around player during Bishop Canevin’s playoff run. That story remained true in the championship game as she finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Bishop Canevin was able to mostly run the clock in the fourth quarter and glide towards another WPIAL title.

Aquinas Academy battled until the final whistle, which caught the attention of third-year coach Chris Lebakken.

“To see them fight while being down as much as we were down and still have the second string fight like they are fighting, it’s fantastic for the future,” he said.

Bishop Canevin moves on to the PIAA first round to face the fifth-place team from District 9 on Wednesday. Aquinas Academy will also play that night against the second-place team from District 5.

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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