Canevin headed for another showdown with SLS
Bishop Canevin (25-4) defeated Burrell, 41-29, and Seton-La Salle (27-2) pounded Mohawk, 73-45, to set up a showdown in the semifinals of the PIAA Class AA girls’ basketball tournament. The two teams will meet March 26 to decide who will travel to Hershey to challenge for the state championship.
The match-up will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. In winning the section title, SLS, which is the defending state champion, defeated the Crusaders twice. However, Canevin trumped the Rebels, 56-47, in the WPIAL District 7 championship game back on March 1 at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
That SLS is the next opponent says Canevin coach Tim Joyce is “not a surprise” to the Crusaders. “We anticipated playing them four times.”
Joyce, and the Crusaders, anticipated Burrell (24-4) would play them better than their last encounter, too. In the WPIAL semifinals, Canevin pounded the Bucs, 55-19. Hence, the Crusader did not look beyond Burrell.
“We take them one game at a time,” Joyce said. “They are too good a team and they are too well-coached to not expect this game to have been different from the last time we played them.”
Despite a lackluster offensive performance, the Crusaders slipped past the Bucs by depending upon defense and rebounding. Canevin allows only 33 points per game.
“By doing the little things,” Joyce said, “is how you get this far. “When you are not playing well offensively, you can always rely upon your defense and your rebounding.”
Only Celina DiPietro managed to finish in double digits. She exploded for 22 points and she buried four, 3-point field goals.
“Celina has been doing that for us all year. She and Johnie (Olkosky),” said Joyce. “She can shoot it. She’s as good a shooter as I’ve ever had.”
Because the Crusaders had DiPietro, they stretched a narrow, first-frame edge, 10-9, to 19-12 by intermission. DiPietro had 10 of those points. She provided seven in the third quarter as Canevin expanded the advantage to 32-20.
Her final trey, coupled with a fast-break layup by Carly Forse, off a lead pass from Erin Waskowiak, afforded the Crusaders their largest lead, 37-22, of the game with 4:50 to play. Forse finished with eight tallies and Waskowiak totaled six markers. Olkasky had one trey.
Joyce credited his team’s schedule for preparing the Crusaders for the pressures of state playoff action. In addition to the battles with Seton-La Salle, Canevin played at Franklin, Hollidaysburg and Villa Maria this season.
“It goes back to our schedule,” Joyce said. “We play the tough teams to get used to playing in these playoff games.”
Meanwhile, SLS did not have much trouble with Mohawk, a team Canevin had dispatched, 56-44, in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs.
In the Rebels’ triumph, four players scored in double figures: Natalie Piaggesi (15), Nicolete Newman (14), Angela Heintz (11) and Cassidy Walsh (10).