Vincentian Academy falls short to Shanksville-Stonycreek in PIAA quarterfinals

Saturday, March 16, 2019 | 2:04 PM

Ron Moncrief wasn’t shedding tears of sorrow Saturday.

The Vincentian Academy girls basketball coach came away as content as possible following a loss to Shanksville-Stonycreek in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals.

“We started off 3-8 this year, and to make it to the elite eight is a compliment for the girls,” Moncrief said. “I’m very proud of them for not giving in.”

Riley Snyder scored 13 points and her cousin Josie Snyder added 12, and Shanksville-Stonycreek held off a late fourth-quarter rally by Vincentian Academy for a 42-36 victory at Hempfield, advancing the Vikings to the semifinals Tuesday at a site to be determined.

Shanksville-Stonycreek (24-5), runner-up in the District 5 playoffs, will face a familiar foe in District 5 champion Berlin Brothersvalley (23-5), which routed Sewickley Academy, the WPIAL’s sixth-place team, 61-23, in another quarterfinal at Hempfield.

“A couple of possession here and there didn’t fall our way,” Moncrief said. “They just made more plays than we did.”

Vincentian Academy loses four seniors, including two starters. But the Royals return three other starters who will be seniors next season, and it gives Moncrief room for optimism.

After a long time huddling afterward in the locker room, he emerged in advance of his heartbroken players.

“We’re like family,” Moncrief said. “Seeing them hurt makes you sad because they played very hard and they wanted to win. They’ve come so far, so to see them lose like that, it hurts.”

Shanksville-Stonycreek defeated Berlin Brothersvalley twice during regular-season games in the Western Pennsylvania Athletic Conference, but the Vikings lost to the Mountaineers in the District 5 championship game, 51-37, on March 2.

“Honestly, I’ve always believed in this group,” Shanksville-Stonycreek coach Cory Crognale said. “I’d thought about us possibly making a run in the playoffs, but after losing the district championship game, I was wondering if they still wanted to play.

“But they came out in the first round and played like a completely different team; second round, looked even better. Today, we faced a lot of adversity, but I believe we’re capable of beating anybody on any given night if we come to play.”

Sidney Stutzman also scored in double figures for Shanksville-Stonycreek, despite dislocating her shoulder in the third quarter, forcing her to the sideline for a time.

“We’re a tough group,” Crognale said, fighting back tears. “I’m so proud of these girls. We’ve never been this far before as a program.”

Hannah Katz and Saige Smith led Vincentian Academy (14-13), the WPIAL’s fourth-place team, with 10 points apiece.

“These girls easily could have quit on themselves,” Moncrief said, referring to the team’s slow start in the regular season. “They could have quit on the team, quit on the coaches. But they fought and they overcame a lot of adversity, and I’m proud of them for that.”

After Vincentian Academy closed within 39-36 on a basket by Smith, Hannah Platt’s steal and breakaway layup with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining gave Shanksville-Stonycreek a 41-36 edge, and the Vikings held on.

The game was a see-saw affair until Shanksville-Stonycreek put some space between the teams.

The Vikings seized a 34-28 lead on Riley Snyder’s layup at the third-quarter buzzer, part of an 8-0 run that carried into the fourth for a 36-28 advantage.

Riley Snyder’s 3-point play preceded her buzzer-beater and followed the injury to Stuzman, whose free throw earlier started the Shanksville-Stonycreek run and gave the Vikings a 29-28 lead.

Stutzman returned to the lineup in the fourth quarter, favoring her right shoulder, and unsuccessfully shot her final free-throw attempt underhanded.

“She wanted to be in there. She toughed it out,” Crognale said.

Shanksville-Stonycreek carried the first quarter, 11-9, before Vincentian Academy went in front with a 7-0 run to start the second quarter for a 16-11 lead for the Royals.

But when the halftime buzzer sounded, Shanksville-Stonycreek was clinging to a 19-18 advantage on consecutive layups by Riley Snyder, the go-ahead shot with 55.4 seconds to go in the first half.


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