While Serra Catholic was making fewer than 25 percent of its shots in the first half of a WPIAL Class A semifinal game Wednesday, coach Bill Cleary was kept calm by his son.
"[My son] said, 'Dad, the ball is going to go in eventually.' "
His son was right, as No. 2 Serra Catholic (23-2) outscored No. 3 North Catholic (15-10) by 19 points in the second half to rally for a 56-45 victory at Keystone Oaks.
The Eagles will play No. 1 Vincentian in the championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday at Palumbo Center.
"I was telling my wife that it's been quite awhile since I've had this feeling before a ballgame," Cleary said. "The real anticipation, the nerves. ... And if I'm thinking this after all my years, I wonder what the kids were feeling."
Serra Catholic got off to a slow start, hitting just one field goal in the first 5:47 as North Catholic jumped out to a 9-2 lead.
Trojannettes star Lauren Wolosik scored 15 points in the first half to help North Catholic to a 27-19 lead.
The Trojannettes extended the lead to 10 early in the third quarter before Serra Catholic made its run. The Eagles scored 23 of the 27 points to take a 44-35 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Center Nicole Pero was the catalyst, scoring 10 of her 12 points. "I knew I wasn't playing the best I could in the first half and I knew if we were going to come back at all I needed to push myself to work harder."
The Eagles also switched from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man in the second half. Katie Sieg guarded Wolosik, who had just five points in the final 16 minutes.
"They went man and I felt pretty confident attacking the man, but I don't know, we didn't run our stuff, we were a little tight and started missing shots," said North Catholic coach Molly Rottman.
Vincentian will try for its third WPIAL title in four years after defeating No. 4 Quigley Catholic, 57-38, in a Class A semifinal at Keystone Oaks.
The No. 1 Royals (24-1), the defending WPIAL champions, scored the first six points of the game and never trailed, leading 34-18 at halftime.
Brenna Wise led Vincentian with 22 points.
"Just wanted to be aggressive and attack the rim," said Vincentian head coach Ron Moncrief. "We felt like we could penetrate their defense and get to the rim and we ended up getting to the free throw line some."
For the Spartans (18-6), Gabrielle Smith had a team-high 13 points.