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The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Archbishop Carroll Girls Varsity Basketball Team falls to Archbishop Wood 54-52 in PCL Championship Game

To get the greatest show in high school basketball, there must be sacrifices, and on Monday night in the Philadelphia Catholic League title game, the Lady Pats were just that: a sacrifice. 

The Lady Pats fell to Archbishop Wood in double overtime, 54-52, as Vikings claimed their first PCL Championship since 2021, leaving Carroll in shambles after one of the most hard-fought losses in recent memory. 

“Frustration, upset, disbelief, I could go on and on,” said head coach Renie Shields. “They played a great game. We just didn’t put the ball in the basket when we needed to and they did.”

While Carroll struggled to make their shots as the game waned to an end, the Pats did not have much trouble at the contest’s opening. In the first quarter of the game, Carroll held a two-possession lead throughout as the usual suspects — PCL MVP Brooke Wilson and sophomore Alexis Eberz — led the way. 

The Lady Pats were able to keep the Vikings at arm’s length for a majority of the first half with a three-point lead heading into halftime. As Eberz and Wilson took a step back in the second quarter, it was junior Olivia Nardi who showed up in the big spot just as she has in years past, draining two huge first-half threes and another one in the second half, all in crucial junctures.

As the third period moved on, there wasn’t too much keeping Wood from taking the lead besides their own mistakes. Despite all that, the Pats finished the period tied up with the Vikings as Eberz worked to keep the score close on offense. 

As the fourth period began, however, things started to get choppy. Wood kept it neck and neck with the Lady Pats through the majority of the period until the Vikings took their first lead with 6:30 to go in the fourth quarter, and from that point on it became an uphill battle. 

After Wood took the lead, they’d go on a run, putting Carroll in a five-point hole that junior Maddie McFillin quickly pulled the Pats out of, going on a 5-0 run of her own, which included a few foul shots, three-pointer, and a huge steal to force a transition play. 

The two clubs kept it close for the final few minutes, up until the final whistle even. After getting the bucket with around ten seconds to go, the Lady Pats just needed a bucket to send the team back to The Hilltop as PCL champions. A scoop down low to Wilson, who missed two consecutive layups, sealed the deal in regulation for Carroll, and the game headed to OT. 

Overtime did not treat Carroll much better. Maddie McFillin pulled off another nice steal, but Wilson turned the ball over as Carroll had a chance to go ahead once more. Following a Wood miss, the game headed to a second overtime. 

It appeared Wood would run away with it until Wilson drilled a three to make it 53-52 with just 47 seconds on the clock. The Pats stole the ball on the inbound but lost possession on a controversial no-jump-ball call. Carroll sent Wood’s Ava Renninger to the line. She sank one of her shots, leaving room for the Pats, who were down by only two at this point. 

Carroll called a timeout soon after the missed free throw. With 4.6 seconds to go, it looked as though Carroll would have another prime opportunity to earn their hubcap, and they did…

As the ball was inbounded around half court, Wilson struggled to break a double team before chucking up a prayer from deep and being shoved to the ground by a Wood defender. No foul was called on that play, eliciting boos that rained down from the Carroll student section as Wood stormed the court – champions of the Catholic League. 

“It’s obviously a really tough loss,” said Nardi. “We played our heart out, out there every second and it hurt. The refs are going to call the game how they call the game. We can’t control it. We can just hope it was the right call.”

With the loss, the Lady Pats end yet another Catholic League season in disappointment as they drop their second PCL title in three years. Carroll will look ahead to districts and states moving into the spring months.

“This hurts,” said Assistant Athletic Director Bill O’Donnell. “It has become too normal, but these girls always play their hearts out and did great as always. There is a lot to be excited for in the future with this club.”

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