Carol Cecere

Forest Hills head coach Carol Cecere is shown during a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference game against Cambria Heights, in Patton, PA., Monday, Feb.10, 2020.

SIDMAN – To begin the fourth quarter, the Forest Hills girls scored the first seven points to cut Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic’s lead down to just five, energizing the home crowd. 

But like they did all night, the Marauders came up with a prompt answer on the other end as Leah Homan buried a 3-pointer to quell the Rangers’ comeback bid. The previously unbeaten Rangers could pull no closer the rest of the night as the No. 1 seed was upset on their home court for the second straight season in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference semifinals.

Bishop Guilfoyle responded well to all of Forest Hills’ mini spurts to move on to Saturday’s title game with a 57-48 victory on Thursday at Forest Hills High School.

“We battled back. Two times we cut it to within five, but Homan hit a 3 and it was back to eight. We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Forest Hills coach Carol Cecere said. “I thought we started panicking early, rather than just settling into it.”

No. 4 seed Bishop Guilfoyle (16-6) will meet No. 3 seed Central Cambria, a 60-55 winner at No. 2 seed Cambria Heights, at 6 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in the LHAC title game. Teresa Haigh led three Marauders in double figures with a game-high 18 points. Homan added 15 points and Sophia Warner netted 10. 

Forest Hills (22-1) made just 1 of 13 shots from the field in the first quarter. 

The slow start brought back memories from last year’s 47-42 loss to Bishop Carroll in a LHAC semifinal.  

“I actually thought that their defense and their desire in the first quarter (was the difference) and we just couldn’t get anything going,” Cecere said. “We’d have a turnover, then we wouldn’t get a box out. All those things just compounded tonight. It’s a tough league to win. We knew the target was on our back.”

The Rangers finished 32% from the field (17-for-53) while Bishop Guilfoyle made 44% of its shots (20-for-45).  

“Ariel Brunner starting the ball pressure on their point guard because she’s a nice player. Sophia Warner stepping up on Jordy Smith, Jamison (Consiglio) and Blaise (Kilmartin) taking on Maddie Cecere. We focused on those kids, they’re a priority for that team,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Kristi Kaack said. “All three of those kids were fantastic on the defensive end today.”

Madeline Cecere hit four 3-pointers and led the Rangers with 14 points. 

Taylor Burda produced 13 points as Forest Hills made 10 of its 17 field goals from beyond the arc. 

The Marauders ended the first quarter on a 14-0 run to lead 21-6.

The Rangers carried the second quarter by a 16-12 margin, but trailed 33-22 at halftime. 

Bishop Guilfoyle, which lost twice to Forest Hills during the regular season, earned a 12-11 edge in the third quarter to bring a 12-point lead into the fourth frame. 

Madeline Cecere’s layup, a trey from Burda and Remi Smith’s bucket sparked a 7-0 spurt just 50 seconds into the fourth quarter. Kaack called a timeout to settle her team down. On the next possession, Homan buried a 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 surge that Haigh continued with a three-point play. 

“They were huge. The one that keeps circling in my mind is when it’s down to five and Leah Homan hits the 3 to extend it to eight,” Kaack said. “That kid’s a sophomore, but you wouldn’t know it.”

Forest Hills eventually made it a two-possession game twice in the fourth, but Bishop Guilfoyle got enough stops on defense to prevail. 

Jake Oswalt is a copy editor for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11 

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