Sweet 16 For North Catholic in Win Over Ft. Cherry for Girls Class A Girls Championship

Saturday, March 5, 2011 | 12:00 AM

It got a little scary but North Catholic picked up their 16th WPIAL championship with a 49-43 victory over Fort Cherry in the Girls Class A championship game. The final two minutes saw North Catholic struggle from the foul line, the Trojanettes went 11 of 22 for the game. Both teams elected to clear the benches in the final minute, but Fort Cherry wasn't done as Jenna Lucas scored five points to cut the lead to 49-43 with 7.2 seconds to play and with the ball and a timeout, both teams then elected to put the starters back into the game.

Both coaches, Bob Miles from Fort Cherry and Molly Rottman from North Catholic, said that was the first time they saw that happen, where a team continued to come back even with the reserves in the game. Coach Miles said he had no regrets in making the substitutions when he did and he did not elect to put the starters back in until Coach Rottman did.

North Catholic showed why the program has been so successful over the years, forcing eight turnovers in the opening quarter on the way to a 20-7 lead. The Trojanettes also shot 7 of 11 from the field over the first eight minutes.

In the second quarter, same as the first, North Catholic extended the lead on a buzzer-beater by Erin DeSanti to end the half. The only negative for the Trojanettes, Angela Nowacki headed to the bench, picking up her third foul with less than three minutes remaining.

Leading 31-14 to start the third, North Catholic used three pointers from Erin DeSanti and Kendall Hoffman to build a 22 point lead, but Fort Cherry was able to cut that to 39-24 after three with another buzzer beater, this time Jessie Merckle hit from just over half court. The Rangers also took care of the basketball, not committing a turnover in that quarter.

Nowacki scored the first two field goals for North Catholic but hit the bench with her fourth foul with 6:19 remaining. On the Fort Cherry side, Carolena Gasbarra battled foul trouble all afternoon, picking up her fourth at the 4:36 mark.

Coach Rottman said it's a great feeling to continue the tradition at North Catholic, Rottman picks up her 5th gold medal as a head coach. North Catholic was led by Hoffman with 15 points, Nowacki and DeSanti each added 10. North Catholic shot 17 of 37 from the field and committed 13 turnovers, the Trojanettes are now 19-7 and will meet the 4th place team from District 9 in the opening round of the PIAA Tournament next Saturday.

Coach Miles said he was proud of the effort from his team, keeping North Catholic in check, he said they wanted to play in two minutes segments. Fort Cherry was led by Rebekah Bellhy with 13 points, Gasbarra added 10, with 8 coming in the second half. The Rangers shot 16 of 39 for the game and committed 16 turnovers. Each team had 26 rebounds.

Fort Cherry is now 22-4 and will meet the second seed from District 10 in the states.

Fort Cherry Rangers : 7 – 7 – 10 – 19 = 43
North Catholic Trojanettes : 20 – 11 – 8 – 10 = 49


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