JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – Bishop McCort Catholic senior Ally Stephens didn’t want his Crimson Crushers to leave anything to chance in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A women’s basketball tournament on Tuesday night.
Not after a much-loved Bishop McCort team fell in the District 6 title game and failed to win the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference playoff title despite going undefeated in the conference all season. regular.
Not after last year’s knockout loss as the district semifinal seed.
“We were just looking to take a big lead. We want to stay there this year,” said Stephens, who helped Bishop McCort achieve that goal by scoring 26 points in a 63-32 win over Windber.
“We were all so excited, especially with Windber just down the street. We knew it was going to be packed,” Stephens said of the near-full crowd at the Osborne Street gymnasium. “We were just ready. We had our adrenaline.
Stephens scored six 3-point field goals, including three in the second quarter, as the District 6 runners-up Crimson Crushers pulled away from the District 5 runners-up Ramblers.
“When she’s on fire, she’s amazing,” Bishop McCort’s Catholic coach John Hahn said. “I’ve only seen her one other game like that. She turned it on. She shoots the ball well.
Sophomore Gianna Galllucci had 11 points and junior Bria Bair provided 13 rebounds and nine points as the Crimson Crushers (24-4) earned a spot against District 3 champion Linden Hall, a 65-31 winner over Belmont Charter, Friday.
“It’s huge,” Hahn said.
“I spoke to the girls last night and said, ‘We had a great year. We went unbeaten in the Laurel Highlands. We lost the Laurel Highlands Championship. We’re losing District 6. We haven’t won anything.
“’Let’s enter the Sweet 16. Why not us? Let’s do our run,” Hahn said. “I will give up D6. I will give up Laurel Highlands. I would like to go to Hershey.
The Crimson Crushers led an almost entirely underclass Windber team 24-14 after one quarter and 42-25 at halftime.
Bishop McCort limited Windber to seven points in the second half, including just two in the third quarter as the Crushers led 55-27.
The Ramblers closed a season 22-5.
“We knew they were going to pick up the pace as much as they could and the 3-point line is their first place,” Windber coach Cory Pavlosky said. “(Stephens) got hot. When they started shooting and making 90% of their 3s, it was almost an insurmountable thing.
Windber’s only senior, Gina Gaye, had 16 points. Sophomore Mariah Andrews provided nine points and seven rebounds.
“A hell of a career,” Pavlosky said of Gaye. “If you look at his accolades, not just in basketball, but in all of his sports, how many WestPAC championships? How many district titles?
“To have three WestPAC titles.
“Two district titles. To have a few state appearances. Breaking the 1,000 point barrier and getting closer to the 1,200 mark (in basketball),” Pavlosky said. “She’s a great kid. We love her. She’s a role model for our school.
Multi-sport star Gaye overcame a devastating knee injury earlier in his career to lead a young Ramblers WestPAC Championship team as a senior.
“I hope I taught them to never stop fighting and that you can overcome any adversity thrown at you,” Gaye said.
“As long as you play together and trust your teammates, you can achieve anything you set out to do.”
Bishop McCort’s Stephens hopes his team will keep the momentum going.
“I am in the final year this year. It’s my last year. This is my last home game,” Stephens said.
“I’m ready to get a state medal.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports journalist and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.