RENO—Bishop Manogue pushed Liberty in Thursdays night’s state semifinal at Lawlor Events Center, but couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch and saw its season come to a close with a 59-53 loss.
The Miners, who won the DI North title for the second straight year, finished the season 23-2. They also fell in the state semifinals last season. The Patriots (26-3) advanced to the state title game for the second time in three years.
“It’s sad to end this way, for the girls to play that hard,” first-year Bishop Manogue coach Carlnel Wiley said. “I think (a lot of) people didn’t think we were going to be here. We proved a lot of people wrong.”
Trailing by as much as seven with 2:13 left, the Miners cut it to 54-51 with 57 seconds left after Malia Holt hit a pair of big free throws. They would pull no closer.
Liberty’s Celine Quintino hit two freebies 16 seconds later to push the gap back to five and the Miners turned it over on their following possession. It was the 24th and final turnover of the night—16 of which came in the first half.
“Once again, I have to give them respect for their defense to force those turnovers, which we’ve never really done,” Wiley said. “We didn’t turn the ball over a whole lot (this season).”
Taylor Turney hit the first of two free throws with 17 seconds left to extend the difference to 57-51 but missed the second, only for the Patriots to grab the offensive rebound. Turney was fouled again and she hit both the second time around to put the game away.
Allowing offensive rebounds was a problem all night for the Miners, before it sealed their fate in the final seconds.
“Where you’re weak at in the beginning (of the season), you end up either getting better as the season goes, or it just comes up to bite you in the ass,” Wiley said. “And it did.”
Bishop Manogue led 25-24 after a sloppy first half only for Liberty to open the third quarter on a 12-3 run. The Patriots’ lead never grew larger than eight and never shrunk smaller than three the rest of the way.
Turney led the wining cause with 21 points. She was the only Patriot to finish in double figures.
Katie Turner led Bishop Manogue with 17. Holt had 15 and Maddie Camacho had 11. She scored six of her points early to help the Miners grab a 10-4 lead. Liberty answered right back with a 14-4 run to get back into it.
“They got after it a little bit more than us today,” Wiley said.
Liberty will play Centennial for the state title on Friday night. Tip is at 6:10 p.m. at the Lawlor Events Center.
Centennial runs past Reno
RENO—For one half on Thursday afternoon, the Reno girls hung around with the No. 5 team in the country in a state semifinal at Lawlor Events Center.
The second half was a different story. And it led to an 82-53 season-ending loss to Centennial.
“There’s a reason they’re the No. 5 team in the country,” Reno coach Shane Foster said. “We were there at the half, we felt good, our effort was tremendous. At times they make you look like you’re a JV team and that’s just because they’re relentless.”
The Bulldogs, the defending state champs, improved to 30-1 on the season, including a 91-56 win over the Huskies in Las Vegas on Dec. 30. The Huskies, the DI North runners up, finished 27-4.
After Mikayla Shults and Daranda Hinkey hit consecutive triples at the end of the first half to get the Huskies within 35-25, the Bulldogs imposed their will to start to the second half.
They opened on a 12-2 that blew the lead up to 20 and led by new fewer than 17 the rest of the way.
“That hurts,” Foster said of the start to the third quarter. “We talked about it, we needed a stop, a score and a stop, get right back in this ball game … The effort was great, but they just wore us down.”
Mallory McGwire led the Huskies with 14 points after battling early foul trouble. It was her final game in a Reno uniform before heading off to Oregon. Dominique Harding had 12.
For Centennial, Sam Thomas went for 29. She was the only Bulldog to finish in double figures.
“That would’ve been a great story if we somehow pulled this upset,” Foster said. “But I love my kids. I love coaching those kids. And I’m proud of everything they’ve given this school. So we have no regrets. We’re just sad.”
Centennial earned the right to defend its state title on Friday night against Liberty, which beat Manogue in Thursday’s other semifinal. Tip is at 6:10 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center.