There are easier places to try to cap an unbeaten Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season than in a cramped Holy Cross gym, on senior night, with the homestanding No. 15 Tartans fresh off a win over No. 8 St. John’s, their 10th consecutive victory.
But at this point, who is to doubt No. 2 Good Counsel? The Falcons went through the WCAC schedule without a hiccup, topping it off with a 70-54 win Friday night in Kensington to become the first girls’ team in league history to finish 18-0.
“We knew we had something good here,” said Good Counsel guard Faith Randolph, who scored a team-high 25 points and is the only senior who plays regularly for the Falcons (25-3, 18-0). “It became one of our goals as the season moved on.”
“We thought of [going unbeaten in the league] when when we were in Arizona,” said junior forward Amanda Fioravanti, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, in reference to competing in the Nike Tournament of Champions. “We were playing some of the top teams in America. We were like, if we can play with these teams. . .”
The Tartans (21-7, 13-5) have a history of marring perfect regular seasons: St. John’s’ only league loss last year was a one-pointer to Holy Cross. Good Counsel’s only league loss in 2007-08 was to Holy Cross. The Falcons also went 17-1 in the league in 2005-06, with a loss to McNamara.
“It’s kind of magical to finish 18-0,” said Falcons Coach Tom Splaine, who used to coach at Holy Cross and has beaten his old team in nine of the past 10 meetings. “I hope these girls are proud of it because they accomplished something as far as I know, nobody else has.
“Now we’ve got to refocus for next weekend [in the tournament],” added Splaine, whose team lost in the league final last year. “We’re the one seed, but that doesn’t guarantee us anything but a chance next week.”
The WCAC tournament begins Thursday with play-in games. The quarterfinals are Feb. 25 at Gonzaga. The semis and finals are at American University on Feb 26-27.
From late in the second quarter on, Good Counsel outscored the Tartans, 46-30, to break open a tie game. In the fourth quarter, Holy Cross never got closer than within 11 points.
“Eighteen offensive rebounds for them, and 12 turnovers between my two point guards, makes for a disastrous game,” said Holy Cross Coach Eddie Simpson, who coached unbeaten WCAC teams at St. John’s. “I think we let them push us around a lot more than we did the pushing.”