The second-ranked Good Counsel girls’ basketball team has been so dominant in its unprecedented and unbeaten romp through the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference schedule that the Falcons have seldom had to pull out a game in the final seconds.
That concerned Coach Tom Splaine during his team’s eight-day layoff before the league tournament, but as has been the case all season, it was more how the Falcons would win than whether they would win. This time they pulled out a 79-76 WCAC championship game victory over No. 10 St. John’s on Monday night at Bender Arena, avenging the title game loss to the Cadets last year.
With seven seconds left, St. John’s junior guard Lindsay Allen had the ball and was approaching the three-point line when Cadets Coach Jonathan Scribner called a timeout. Allen had edged Good Counsel with an open-court buzzer beater last year during the regular season. But in that situation, there were 20 seconds left when her team took possession and it needed only a two-pointer to win instead of a three-pointer to tie.
“I wanted to set something up where everybody knew what we were doing,” said Scribner, whose team’s three losses to Good Counsel this season came by a combined 11 points. “We got exactly what we wanted. A half-an-inch shorter, we’re in overtime. It was a good look.”
Guarded by Virginia signee Randolph, the league’s player of the year, Allen squeezed off a three-pointer that bounced off the back of the rim.
“It felt good,” said Allen, who had 25 points for the Cadets (23-8, 14-4). “It’s basketball. It didn’t go in.”
Allen said that the timeout was beneficial because it enabled her team to set up a screen for her. But the Falcons (28-3, 18-0) also liked the stoppage, because it gave them the opportunity to set their defense and pick her up off an inbound pass and not in the open floor.
“I think the timeout helped us collect ourselves,” said Randolph, who scored a team-high 25 points. “If she made it or not, I felt like we could have got back and won the game. I just kind said a little prayer and [hoped she would miss] it.”
Good Counsel advances to face No. 6 H.D. Woodson in the City Title Game tentatively scheduled for March 12 at Verizon Center.
St. John’s, which beat Good Counsel four times last season, was vying to become the first repeat WCAC champion since the Falcons won back to back in 2005 and ’06. Good Counsel been in six of the past eight finals and have won four of them. Prior to that, they had not reached the championship since 1995.
Other WCAC teams have gone unbeaten, but Good Counsel is the first to do so playing an 18-game league schedule. The Falcons’ three losses this season were to teams from Arizona, Illinois and California, ranked first, second and 11th by USA Today.
Spann had seven assists and Fioravanti, who picked up her third foul less than a minute into the second half, had 10 rebounds. The teams combined to make 43 of 49 free throws.
Allen scored many of her points on acrobatic baskets in the lane. She also had eight rebounds. Senior guard Mooriah Rowser added 16 points, junior forward Tori Oliver 15 and junior center Jasmine Bailey 10 off the bench.