Archbishop Wood girls’ basketball coach Mike McDonald stood outside the locker room and did a lot of interviews, sometimes answering the same questions.
He handled every one of them with class.
McDonald’s players emulated their coach’s good sportsmanship. It began with forcing a smile when handed the runner-up trophy and then clapping for their opponents as they watched them receive gold medals, just like the ones they had earned each of the past two seasons.
So while Archbishop Wood’s coaches and players lost a heartbreaking 36-33 contest against Mars Area High School in the PIAA Class 5A girls’ basketball state championship March 28 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., they proved they were winners where it counted most.
“Standing there watching them celebrate, you have to tip your hat,” said McDonald. “You have to say congratulations. They deserved that. They won the game.”
Wood (22-8) outplayed Mars (23-6) defensively, outrebounding them by 30-28, stealing seven passes, blocking four shots, and causing 13 turnovers. Shooting, however, failed the Vikings as they connected on just 11 of 43 overall, 5 of 20 from three-point territory, and 6 of 10 from the line.
For the first time this season, not one player finished in double-digit scoring. Freshman Kaitlyn Orihel (nine points), senior Erin Morgan (eight), sophomore Lindsay Tretter (six), senior Bridget Arcidiacono (six), and senior Katie May (four) supplied all of the scoring.
“We had a lot of positive moments this year,” said Arcidiacono, who led all rebounders with seven, one more than Morgan. “I hope we’re not remembered by this one game.
“Obviously it really stings when you get this far and then fall a little bit short … just one play short. But I think overall we’ve had a really positive season and we’ve had some big wins that we didn’t expect to have.”
The Vikings will get hit hard by graduation but will return five players who participated in the state final.
“We worked hard all season and got to the championship game even though we didn’t come out with the win,” said junior Annie Whalen. “We will come back stronger and get it next year.”
Tretter echoed her teammate’s sentiment.
“Losing was very hard,” said Tretter, “but I know that if we work just as hard as we did this season, we can get back again next year and hopefully win it all.”
John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter @johnknebels.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103