WCAC finalists Good Counsel and St. John’s will be meeting in the championship for the third consecutive year. The teams split games during the regular season, but the 77-73 win for St. John’s on Dec. 11 came before Good Counsel senior point guard Lindsey Spann had returned from a foot injury. With Spann, the Falcons beat St. John’s, 70-60, on Jan. 18.

Spann turned in the most crowd-pleasing plays of the semifinals Sunday at Bender Arena, with several no-look passes and a pair of acrobatic contested layups in a 55-49 win over Paul VI Catholic.

It’s knowing when to try to thread a difficult pass through the defense and when not to that can be challenging for the Penn State signee.

“Sometimes I get ahead of myself and I make a play but I probably should just be patient and wait for something else to happen,” Spann said. “But a lot of times if it’s in the flow of the game we’re picking up a run and we’re getting a lot of easy layups.”

“She’s a victim of her own success sometimes,” Good Counsel Coach Tom Splaine said. “Because she is so good at that. She sees the floor so well and sets people up so well. The hard part is teams in this league, they’ve already seen us twice. She’s been in this league four years, so a lot of the other players know her tendencies. That’s where they were able to shut down some passing lanes today and get some steals off of that. With that said, you know she’s going to make some of the head-spinning plays every game. She did a great job.”

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from high school basketball games in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (The Washington Post)

The recipient of those assists often is senior forward Amanda Fioravanti, a Virginia signee who knows an entry pass can come from anywhere at any time.

“Since she knows me so well, she knows where I like the passes, Fioravanti said. “Her passes are amazing. I don’t know how she does them. But she does them great.

“You always have to be on the lookout: Where’s Lindsey on the court? And then once I see her and I make eye contact it’s go time. We normally give a little glimpse out of the eye, or sometimes she’ll just do it on the random.”

Good Counsel sophomore forward Nicole Enabosi showed her defensive versatility by guarding several Paul VI players Sunday. She also had nine points eight rebounds off the bench.

After a 23-0 start, Paul VI lost four of its last seven games, by one to St. John’s, by 19 to Good Counsel, by four to St. John’s and by six to Good Counsel.

Cadets miss the easy ones

St. John’s counted 28 missed layups in its 54-40 win over Elizabeth Seton in the WCAC semifinals.

“We have a serious layup problem,” St. John’s Coach Jonathan Scribner said. “If we were to make our layups the way we should I think games wouldn’t be as close as they are. I don’t know if that’s just us. But we track it.

Paul VI forward Marcus Derrickson is one of the most highly sought after sophomores in the country, with 15 scholarship offers already. (Video by Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

“We had multiple situations where if we convert two or three layups in a row we get a 12- or 14-point separation early.”

And other than senior guard Lindsay Allen, who went nine for nine at the line, St. John’s missed seven of 11 free throws. Good Counsel also struggled at the line in the semis, making only 12 of 25. Junior guard-forward Sara Woods sank all six of her attempts.

This is the fourth straight final appearance for St. John’s, but the Cadets are not even halfway to the school record. St. John’s reached the WCAC final nine straight years from 1997 to 2005.

A tournament carrying extra weight

With the WCAC champion not advancing to a City Title Game this season, that could place more emphasis on the annual Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament in Cumberland, Md., from March 7-9.

The Post’s current top three teams — St. John’s, IAAM-A champion Spalding and Good Counsel — are in the eight-team field, along with co-ISL AA regular season champion Georgetown Visitation, IAAM-A runner-up McDonogh, WCAC semifinalist Elizabeth Seton, Seton Keough out of Baltimore and the host school.

“I’m disappointed, obviously,” Splaine said of the City Title Game no longer existing, at least for this year. “It’s a tradition for the girls. I think it’s a nice culminating opportunity for the winner of the league. D.C. decided to go another way. I could see what they wanted to do as well. We’ll have to look as a league at what other opportunities might be out there. It puts a little more focus on Walsh, and I think that will be good for that tournament.”