By: Ralph Amsden
Seton Catholic fell behind early to the Maricopa Rams, and never held a lead in a 52-49 loss in the division 2 state championship at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Monday.
Maricopa held their largest lead at 38-30 early in the third quarter before freshmen Sarah Barcello and Kendall Krick hit three pointers to bring Seton within one point. Seton had multiple opportunities to take the lead while down 38-37, but ended the quarter one for six from the field, and the Rams held a 43-39 lead headed into the final period. Coming into the game, Seton had only been giving up 37 points per game over the course of the playoff tournament.
The Rams scored twice to start the fourth quarter, equaling their biggest lead of the night with 7:00 left on the clock, and then held on from that point to get the win. The Sentinels came within a single score when Jenn Wirth erroneously threw the ball into the backcourt, and before the Sentinels could get whistled for the backcourt violation, Maricopa’s Tiara Edmond touched the ball. Seton Catholic retained possession and Jenn Wirth hit two free throws to close the gap to 49-47, but Maricopa answered with free throws from Raegene Womack to push the lead back to four. Sarah Barcello hit a shot to close the gap to 51-49, but Seton couldn’t find a way to score the rest of the way, missing two free throws, turning the ball over once, and missing their final three shots, including a Sarah Barcello three point try as the buzzer sounded.
Despite starting five players that were all sophomores and younger, Seton Catholic ends their season at 29-6, and finishes as the runner up to the 29-5 Maricopa Rams. Seton has four titles in the last six years, and has reached at least the semifinal round in each of those six seasons under head coach Karen Self.