Following Tuesday night semifinal victories at the University City campus of St. Joseph’s University, Archbishop Wood and Archbishop Carroll emerged as the two Philadelphia Catholic League finalists and will meet for the championship 6:00 p.m. Monday at the Palestra.

While the top-seed and undefeated Vikings dispatched upset-minded five-seed Nazareth Academy, 63-45, the three-seed Patriots defeated two-seed rival Cardinal O’Hara, 45-38.

Wood advanced to its 14th final in the past 16 years. Carroll seeks its 10th title since 1991.

“It’s culture,” said Mike McDonald, who won his 200th game as Wood’s coach. “We’re lucky to get great players and committed players. There are bigger goals than just the individual ones. Been pretty easy to get them to buy in.”

Led by senior Ava Renninger’s 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists, four different Vikings finished in double figures. That included junior Emily Knouse (13 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals), senior Alexa Windish (10 points, three rebounds, two assists), and sophomore Sophia Topakas (10 points three assists, two steals). Senior Lauren Greer added six points and five boards.

After Nazareth scored the final eight points of the first quarter to forge a 10-10 tie, Archbishop Wood rattled off a scorching 28-7 second quarter to take a 38-17 lead at halftime

Competing in the Philadelphia Catholic League for the first time ever, Nazareth was coming off a 45-43 victory over Neumann-Goretti in last week’s PCL quarterfinals.

Outside of the second quarter, the Pandas more than proved they belonged in the semis. Behind junior Abby Rock’s 19 points and all-around production by junior Reese Power, the Pandas outscored the Vikings by 38-35.

The 18-point margin of defeat belied Wood’s 71-27 romp on Dec. 12 in the two teams’ season-opener.

“We are extremely proud,” said Nazareth coach Mary Kate Magagna. “Our girls didn’t stop, and they knew we weren’t going to.”

Awaiting Wood in the final will be Archbishop Carroll.

With sophomore Alexis Eberz scoring 13 points, senior Brooke Wilson contributing eight, and the McFillin sisters – senior Felicity, junior Maddie, and freshman Abby – combining for 18 points, the Patriots avenged an earlier 45-37 loss to visiting O’Hara on Jan. 30.

It appeared as though the Patriots would coast to an easy win. They leaped to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter and held the Lions to only three baskets in the first half. However, senior Joanie Quinn (17 points, five steals) and junior Molly Rullo (11 points) brought the Lions to within 35-32 midway through the fourth quarter.

Despite the furious comeback attempt, the Patriots maintained their composure. Now, it’s onto the Palestra.

“We appreciate we are going there,” said Wilson, this year’s PCL Most Valuable Player. “All of us are so happy. Tomorrow, it’s a change of mindset. Today is celebration day. Tomorrow, we’re back at work.”


Contact John Knebels at of on X (formerly Twitter) @johnknebels.