One of the bonuses of a signed senior having a huge performance is that word quickly travels to the college coaching staff that that player will be toiling for in coming seasons.
That was the case for W.T. Woodson guard Keara Finnerty after she poured in a career-high 40 points Wednesday night in her team’s 61-43 win over top seed West Springfield at Lake Braddock in the Virginia AAA Patriot District semifinals.
Stonewall Jackson Coach Diana Martinez was at the game, and she informed Stetson assistant Nicole Woods, a friend, about the feat. Woods then texted Finnerty while the senior was still in the locker room.
“It’s just so cool that she’s all the way in Florida and she has a friend here going to the game and telling her,” Finnerty said by phone Thursday morning.
Another area Stetson signee also had a memorable night Wednesday. Potomac (Va.) forward Amber Porter had 24 points and 20 rebounds in her team’s 69-51 win over Forest Park in the Cardinal District championship.
Finnerty single-handedly scored more points Wednesday night than her team had managed in 56-33 and 53-33 losses to West Springfield during the regular season, and the 61 points was a season-high for the Cavaliers, who had lost nine straight in the series.
“After I hit the first couple two or three, then I know I’m really in the zone,” said Finnerty, who shot 73 percent from the floor and made eight of 11 three-point attempts, padding her area-leading three-point total to 78. “I really shocked myself. Everything I put up almost felt like it was going in.”
The 5-foot-10 Finnerty, who chose DeLand, Fla., school Stetson over North Florida and Longwood, studies film the night before games to try to identify where the open shots might be. Her outburst Wednesday came against a West Springfield team that allows only 36.7 points per game and that had limited Finnerty to 30 points total in two games this season.
“Everybody we play has geared everything to stopping her,” Woodson Coach Pat Neri said. “From the start of the season, she and I kept talking about being patient and not getting frustrated and how every team would put their best defender on her. I think it’s been her growth as a senior and her maturity” that has helped sustain her throughout the season.
Woodson (13-11), which started 0-6, won nine out of 10 and lost three straight toward the end of the season, advances to face T.C. Williams (16.8) in the Patriot final. The teams split games during the regular season, with Finnerty scoring 27 points in a win and a season-low five points in a loss.
The 40-point game, almost twice Finnerty’s season average, is tied for the seventh-highest scoring game for an area girls’ player this season. Porter had an area-high 51 against Gar-Field.