Girls basketball team ends season with PCL semifinal loss to Wood

Caleb Carter, Staff writer

The Carroll girls basketball team’s season ended Friday in a tragic, heart-racing 37-36 loss in the semifinal Philadelphia Catholic League game to Archbishop Wood, the eventual PCL champion. 

Just two years ago, Carroll and Wood faced off in Center City at the Palestra, and the Patriots left with the PCL plaque. As a result, the Patriots had extra big targets on their backs Friday night.

“It wasn’t the plan obviously but things happen and this year was filled with a lot of adversity but I know we’ll be there next year,” said Grace O’Neill, who will be a senior for the 2022 season and already has committed to play Division 1 basketball at Drexel.

Wood took the lead 6-2 early in the first quarter of Friday’s contest. By the end of the first quarter, however, the Patriots were ahead, 8-6. 

In the second quarter, the Patriots ran all over Wood, holding the score to 16-8 most of the eight minutes. At halftime the scoreboard read 18-13 with the Carroll visitors in the lead.

“We fought every quarter, every minute, and every second,” O’Neill said.

Sophomore Maggie Grant dished a major three for the Patriots as both talented teams were trading leads left and right.

“It gave us a lot of adrenaline being that close to the end,”  Grant said.

Throughout the game, the Wood defense tried to double team, trap, force turnovers, and even put different defenders all over. O’Neill was able to make plays happen each time. A key player on the Patriots roster, O’Neill was sent to the foul line multiple times, which would eventually put the Patriots on top with just seconds left. 

Carroll used up their timeouts with 12 seconds on the clock. Four seconds later, O’Neill was fouled and gracefully threw down both her free throws, giving the Patriots the 37-36 lead. 

Wood frantically took a timeout immediately after O’Neill’s free throws. Ryanne Allen drove the ball directly to the rim in seven seconds as the Patriots caused a foul, sending Allen to the line.

It was in Allen’s hands to send her team to the PCL championship later that weekend, as she lined up to shoot two free throws. And she did exactly that — draining both shots and leaving the Patriots no time to shoot with 1.3 seconds on the clock.

The Vikings faced Cardinal O’Hara on Sunday to for the PCL plaque.