CLARION - The Lady Dutch of St. Marys Area High School went scoreless in the third period of their District 9-AAA Championship game with Bradford, but then rallied for a 23-8 advantage in the final period to defeat the Lady Owls by a 53-37 score for their fourth straight District 9-AAA championship at Clarion University on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Owls led very early in the game, then fell behind until the 7:45 minute mark of the final period, when they went up by a single point after scoring 12 unanswered points in the third quarter and early in the final period. A trey by St. Marys Area's Adair Gennocro was followed by four points by Kayla Hoohuli and that was it, as the Lady Dutch took control of the game and led the rest of the way to win their fourth straight title.
"We had our sights set on winning four D9-AAA titles in a row since the beginning of the season," said Coach Bob Swanson of the Lady Dutch. "We would like to continue that streak for a couple more years. We have an outstanding group of seniors, but we also have some promising younger players.
"One of our top players is Kayla Hoohuli, who has been a game-changer for us all season long. She had the capability of taking over a game at critical times. It seems like when the going starts to get touch, she shifts into another gear and plays her best ball.
"Two of our younger players, Kiana Hoohuli (freshman) and Adair Gennocro (sophomore) also came up big today for us as well as DeAnna Yost (sophomore), who came off the bench for Jenna Anderson (sophomore) who got into early foul trouble. Kiana had a very good game coming off an injury earlier this week.
"Bradford has a very young team and they play very aggressive, especially on the boards. They handled the ball very well and played a very tough defense."
Kayla Hoohuli was once again the leading scorer for the Lady Dutch, with 22 points on one field goal, three treys and an 11-for-12 day at the foul line. She also picked up 12 rebounds, had five blocked shots, six assists and three steals. She was followed in the scoring department by her younger sister Kiana, who finished with 11 points on four field goals and a trey. Adair Gennocro was next with eight points, followed by DeAnna Yost with five points, Jenna Anderson with three, and Mandy Gerarge and Sloan Foster with two each. Kiana Hoohuli had six rebounds and Gerarge five for the Lady Dutch, while Gennocro had four steals and three assists.
Bradford was paced by Emily Marshall with nine points on four field goals and a foul goal. She was followed by Ali Rinfrette, Kaserra Owens and Haley Vinelli with eight points each and Alex Vinelli with four points.
The Lady Owls jumped out to a 4-0 lead on buckets by Marshall and Owens, but St. Marys quickly took a 5-4 lead on a field goal by Kiana H. and a trey by Gennocro. A bucket by A. Vinelli gave the Lady Owls a short-lived 6-5 lead before the Lady Dutch ran off 13 straight points, on treys by Anderson, Kiana H. and Yost and field goals by Gennocro and Kiana H. to take an 18-6 lead. The Lady Owls scored the final four points of the period to cut the lead back to eight points, 18-10.
The Lady Owls scored the first three of the second period to make it 18-13 before the Lady Dutch ran off nine straight points by the Hoohuli girls to push the lead to 27-13. Two more Bradford field goals were followed by a Kayla H. trey, 30-17, then the Lady Owls closed out the scoring in the half with a bucket by Marshall.
The third quarter proved to be all Bradford, as the Lady Owls outscored St. Marys 10-0 to cut the lead to 30-29 at the end of three periods.
Bradford then hit the opening bucket of the final period to take the lead by a single point, 31-30. Gennocro hit a trey for the Lady Dutch, followed by a field goal and two foul goals by Kayla H. to give St. Marys the lead by a 37-31 score. Bradford's Marshall hit a field goal, but St. Marys answered with a trey and two foul goals by Kayla H. and a field goal by Yost to make the score 44-33. A couple of Bradford foul goals were followed by three Hoohuli foul goals, 47-35. Bradford then added two more foul goals before the Lady Dutch closed out the scoring in the game with two foul goals by Kayla H. and field goals by Foster and Gerarge to make the final score St. Marys 53, Bradford 37.
The Lady Dutch will now enter the PIAA playoffs on Saturday afternoon when they take on the winner of the District 7 No. 4 team (New Castle) vs. the District 8 No. 2 team (Perry Traditional Academy). This game will be at 4:30 p.m. at Clarion University.
The Lady Dutch are now 22-1 on the season. This marks the sixth District 9AAA title for the Lady Dutch, as they won the title the past three years and in the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons.
St. Marys turned the ball over 18 times on Saturday while the Lady Owls had 25 turnovers. St. Marys hit eight three-pointers during the game while the Lady Owls were shut out from the three-point range. Overall, the Lady Dutch were 17 for 48 from the field while the Lady Owls were 16 for 53.
Bradford Area 37
Emily Marshall 4-0-1-4-9, Alex Vinelli 2-0-0-0-4, Ali Rinfrette 3-0-2-2-8, Kaserra Owens 3-0-2-4-8, Haley Vinelli 4-0-0-3-8, Alyssa Ekas 0-0-0-1-0, Angie Comilla 0-0-0-0-0. 16-0-5-12-37.
St. Marys Area 53
Kayla Hoohuli 1-3-11-12--22, Jenna Anderson 0-1-0-0-3, Adair Gennocro 1-2-0-0-8, Kiana Hoohuli 4-1-0-1-11, Mandy Gerage 1-0-0-2-2, Sloan Foster 1-0-0-1-2, DeAnna Yost 1-1-0-0-5, Rachel Walker 0-0-0-0-0. Totals 9-8-11-16-53.
Score by quarters
Bradford 10 9 10 8 37
SMAHS 18 12 0 23 53