The Carroll Times

The Student News Site of Archbishop John Carroll High School

The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Girls basketball punches ticket to second PCL title in three years

Point guard Brooke Wilson faces down the opposition.

The Archbishop Carroll Girls Varsity Basketball team has one of the most stacked trophy cases in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

The team moved one step closer to adding to that case Tuesday night as it took down the Lions of Cardinal O’Hara 45-38 in the Catholic League semi-finals Tuesday night. 

Beginning with their first title in 1974, the Lady Pats have compiled an illustrious 10 PCL titles. Some of the most notable of these titles, however, came during the dynasty that was the early 2000s Patriots club. The Pats returned to the hilltop champions of the Catholic League three times between 2000 and 2004, with a repeat in during the ‘03 and ‘04 seasons. 

More recently, the girls have made strides to establish yet another dynasty for the Pats. 

With a Catholic League win title in 2019, paired with the most recent 2023 6A state championship, not to mention a loss in the CL title game in 2022, the Lady Pats have built another winning culture under longtime head coach Renie Shields. 

This recent Carroll club has drawn heavy comparisons to that early 2000s club that saw so much success, from similar cultures to play styles to fielding a strong point guard to lead the way. 

“We always had a good point guard,” said former Carroll girls basketball coach Barry Kirsch. “They do, too. They got a great point guard in Brooke Wilson and I always valued a point guard and you can see that Renie does, too. You can’t do anything without a good point guard.”

“Anything” may even stand as an understatement for the Pats, who have relied heavily on their PCL MVP Point Guard Brooke Wilson throughout the season. 

“I’ve played so many years of Carroll Basketball and so many games,” said Wilson. “I’m finally starting to learn to, just like, take a deep breath and slow down. You can control how fast you play, you can control the tempo – no matter if it’s going in their favor or if they’re on a run. Just take a deep breath and control this play. That’s what I told everyone. Obviously, we had a lot of turnovers and a lot of mistakes that we didn’t want, but, at the end of the day, we did pull out and it’s all about our patience and just taking our time and taking a deep breath and taking care of the ball.”

Wilson, the younger sister of former Carroll guard Taylor Wilson (‘23), is heading to Army West Point to join her sister next season but in the meantime is working to lead the Pats somewhere they haven’t been since her sophomore year: The Palestra. Step one to doing that was taking down O’Hara, a team the Pats lost to earlier this season. 

One of the club’s biggest goals was to avoid another early letdown, as they did in their quarterfinals matchup with Lansdale Catholic last week when they into a 19-5 hole after the first period. 

The Lady Pats had no trouble avoiding that letdown early on, flipping the script and taking a 17-3 lead over the Lions after the first period. 

Some good shot-making decisions from freshman Abigail McFillin and sophomore Alexis Eberz helped Carroll extend their lead to 20 as the buzzer sounded for halftime. Just as the scoreboard read 28-8 going into the half, it looked as though the Pats would have an easy road to the Palestra. One thing the Pats forgot: nothing comes easy in the Catholic League. 

O’Hara came out in the second half with a vengeance and some aggression. That aggression showed on the defensive end as the Lions forced turnover after turnover and converted them for buckets on the other end. They brought the period to a close trailing by just seven after holding Carroll to four points in the period with a 32-25 lead. 

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Shields. “We know our weakness. Teams know that if they pressure us, we just aren’t ready for it. We weren’t ready; we should have been ready. We need to be comfortable and especially tell them ‘Look, you’re not comfortable.’ We know O’Hara is very fast and they have a long reach, but it really just shows how long and quick they are. But we just needed to hold on to the ball and play our game.”

The fourth period began just as the third ended with O’Hara forcing turnovers and forcing the Lady Pats to make mistakes. The Lions brought the game to within four points before Carroll’s star, Wilson, took the initiative. 

Wilson worked the game through the final minutes, holding onto the ball and finding the correct lanes to get the Pats some extremely valuable late buckets. She ended up getting to the free throw line in the final two minutes to ice the game, giving the Lady Pats a 10-point lead with just a minute to go. 

As the final buzzer sounded in the gym of Saint Joe’s University, Carroll stormed the court to celebrate yet another Catholic League championship berth around their star guard, Wilson. 

With the win, the Lady Pats have clinched their spot in the PCL Championship game on Monday at The Palestra. They will take on Archbishop Wood in the game for a 6 pm tipoff.

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