Tall, talented Villa Maria too much for Wilmington
Villa Maria (84) Vs. Wilmington (23)
Feb 27, 2010
By TODD KRISE
FAIRVIEW — Not every day a 5-foot-4 guard jumps against a 6-1 center to begin a high school girls basketball game.
So forgive Wilmington High’s Haley Marett for sporting a smile as Villa Maria Academy’s Cara Wyant towered over her prior to tipoff on Saturday.
Marett, who also is a vertically adept volleyball player, tried but lost to the taller Wyant, setting off a key theme to the matchup.
The Lady Victors used their overwhelming height and speed to defeat Wilmington, 84-23, in the first round of the District 10, Class AA playoffs at Fairview High.
Villa Maria, which is the defending PIAA champion, will face North East on Wednesday in the semifinals at a time and site to be announced.
“We knew we were coming in here against Goliath,” Lady Greyhounds coach Brian Turk said. “They are a very impressive team.”
Leading up to the game, the third-year coach had a week-long chain of events to prepare his team for battle.
He scheduled Region 2 rival Mercer for a scrimmage on Wednesday and invited members of Wilmington’s boys team to practice to help simulate the Lady Victors’ speed.
But neither scenario prepared the Lady ’Hounds (14-9) for what they saw against Villa Maria, which raced to an 11-0 lead just over two minutes into the game.
Wilmington didn’t record its first field goal until 3:55 left in the first quarter.
“We thought we did a very good job of simulating that in practice,” Turk said. “Unfortunately, they were 10 deep with speed. They got up and down the court, got the rebound and the next thing you know, they’re gone.”
McDonald’s All-American Kayla McBride helped Villa Maria (21-2) take a 24-7 lead after the first stanza by connecting on four straight layups within a two-minute span.
McBride, a 5-11 point guard and University of Notre Dame recruit, scored a game-high 18 points.
“She is all what she’s written up to be, so to speak,” Turk said. “She definitely can play at the next level.
“Hopefully, she can continue her career and represent our area and maybe even move on to the Women’s NBA someday,” he added. “She’s probably the best girls basketball player I’ve seen in a real long time.”
In the second and third quarters, Villa Maria attacked Wilmington’s 2-3 zone by penetrating its middle.
Wyant connected on several baskets under the hoop, while McBride’s younger sister, Karlee, came off the bench to score eight points.
“They did a good job of taking the corners away,” said Lady Victors coach Scott Dibble, whose team led 43-16 at halftime. “We worked on that all week, so we flashed the opposite wing girl into the gap and starting taking advantage of that.”
The Lady ’Hounds were held scoreless in the third frame but managed seven points in the fourth.
Dibble continued to play his starters well into the second half and even into the fourth quarter as the Lady Victors outscored Wilmington 41-7 in the final two periods.
The Lady ’Hounds’ 61-point loss is not the most-lopsided win on Villa Maria’s schedule this season. Youngsville (Pa.) was defeated 100-15 on Jan. 16.
“We’re in the playoffs and when you’re in the playoff season, you’ve got to be ready to play the best,” Turk said on the subject. “Villa Maria has got to stay tuned up and be ready for the next game in two or three days.”
As for Wilmington, this year marked the first time since 2005 that it has qualified for the postseason. That accomplishment, Stephanie Kish said, made the season worthwhile.
Kish, the Lady ’Hounds’ leading scorer for the season, tallied seven points, while fellow senior Ashley Gardner scored eight.
“I’m glad we made the playoffs,” Kish said. “That was the goal. It would’ve been nicer if we wouldn’t have played Villa in the first round, though.”