If there is going to be a fourth-straight girls state championship for Seton Catholic it will not be a thing a beauty.
It’s going to be uncomfortably close basketball games that are not easy on the eyes. It has to be that way since Seton’s starting point guard, Anne Marie Holter, went down with a knee injury in late January during the regular season and was lost for the season. Holter has led the Sentinels at point guard for each of the last three seasons.
At that point in the year, Seton coach Karen Self had to make do with what she has. She’s done just fine.
The Sentinels got a 41-38 Division II state tournament quarterfinal victory over upstart-No. 10 Campo Verde on Tuesday at Jobing.com Arena.
The Sentinels move on to face Tucson Flowing Wells in Friday’s 1:45 p.m. semifinal at Jobing.com Arena.
After beating the Coyotes twice during the regular season by fairly comfortable margins, this was a nail-biter for most of the evening.
“My kids have responded remarkably well,” Self said.
It looked like it would be fairly comfortable with Seton leading, 39-31 with one minute to play. But defensive breakdowns allowed the Coyotes to hit back-to-back baskets, including the game’s first 3-pointer, to cut the lead to 39-36 with 30 seconds to play. Each team then made two free throws, the latter two by Campo Verde’s Stephanie Orji with nine seconds left.
Seton (30-4) then inbounded the basketball only to see senior Susan Spinner dribble the basketball off her own foot out-of-bounds. It was the last of the Sentinels 19 turnovers of the game. The Coyotes (26-8) actually had a chance to tie the game. But Molly Bustamante long jumper was well defended by Seton and time ran out.
The Sentinels’ Julia Barcello came up big in the fourth quarter by hitting all six of her free throws, including two in the final 22 seconds. She finished the game with 12 points and 21 rebounds. The junior now has surpassed 1,000 career rebounds for Seton and is already closing in on 1,000 points.
Heather Heild had 13 points and Spinner scored 12. She may have had an unforced turnover at the end of the game, but it was Spinner who made several key baskets throughout the game.
Each time Campo Verde would threaten to take the lead is seemed like it was Spinner canning a jumper or scoring on a layup after Seton had broken the Coyote press.
“We’ve had to divide up who is going to get the ball and who is going to help us break down the press,” Spinner said
Self had asked Spinner, guard Jessica Bailey and guard Megan Burke to stop the strength of the Coyote team, its quick scoring guards. She asked Megan Burke to do this while starting for the first time all season.
They were good listeners.
“They did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball against our press,” Campo Verde coach Brian Hutchins said. “We usually get more points off turnovers.”
Campo Verde’s second leading scorer, Corri Ramos, who averages 13 points per game, had two and they didn’t come until the final minute of the game.
Seton Catholic 41, Campo Verde 38
Campo Verde 7 7 12 12 - 38
Seton 10 6 13 12 – 41
Campo Verde – Orji 9, Cavinder 7, Cruz 7, Bustamante 5, Ramos 4, Foster 4, Dahl 2.
Seton – Heild 13, Barcello 12, Spinner 12, Lopez 2, Burke 2.