Class AA girls final: Bishop Canevin tops Greensburg Central Catholic for WPIAL crown
February 26, 2016 6:53 PM
Bishop Canevin's Rachel Hildebrand, Erin Joyce and Gina Vallecorsa celebrate their team's win over Greensburg Central Catholic Friday in the WPIAL Class AA championship game at Petersen Events Center.
By Megan Ryan / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bishop Canevin’s No. 1 goal entering the Class AA WPIAL championship Friday at Petersen Events Center was straightforward: Stop Greensburg Central Catholic junior guard Brittany Stawovy.
Mission accomplished — and then some.
The Crusaders (22-4) never trailed as they beat the Centurions, 53-33, to claim their second WPIAL title, the first coming in 2013 when the Crusaders also won their first PIAA title.
Bishop Canevin jumped to an 11-0 lead as Greensburg (17-10) didn’t score its first points until there was 3:35 left in the first quarter. The Centurions barely broke double-digits before halftime. Stawovy’s basket with 13 seconds left was her team’s only points in the second quarter.
Stawovy had been averaging 25.5 points per game in the playoffs, but Bishop Canevin limited her to just 12. Coach Tim Joyce attributed that success to sophomore guard Brionna Allen, his team’s stopper who always takes on the opponent’s leading scorer.
Allen said she was nervous at first but eventually found playing “nice and easy and chill.”
“I didn’t really shoot that much. They were on me a lot,” Stawovy said. “They did a nice job on defense. It thought that I was doubled a lot and pressured a lot, and I hand it to them.”
Allen had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Gina Vallecorsa scored a game-high 17 points while freshman reserve guard Shamyjha Price also broke double-digits with 10 points for Bishop Canevin.
Bishop Canevin forced Greensburg Central Catholic into 28 turnovers and outrebounded the Centurions, 44-26. Greensburg Central Catholic’s 33 points were the fourth-lowest total in a Class AA final.
Joyce said he didn’t expect his team to come out with such a big win and didn’t really try anything special with his defense beyond basic man-to-man pressure.
“We wanted to kind of get them back on their heels, and we’re traditionally, sometimes, a slow-starting team,” he said. “But we really tried to emphasize getting a good start, and the kids did.”
While the final wasn’t very telling, Greensburg Central Catholic had an amazing run to the championship as a No. 14 seed and had to win a preliminary-round game. It was the Centurions’ first trip to the final since winning their fifth crown in 2007.
But coach Joe Eisaman said his team wasn’t satisfied with just appearing in the championship.
“We fully expected to come out and compete,” he said. “I thought it’d be a nip-and-tuck game. I didn’t see them getting up on us. But boy, they ran.”
Megan Ryan: email@example.com and Twitter @theothermegryan.
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