Three girls’ basketball teams from Catholic high schools in the diocese came up just short of sectional crowns this winter.
Nazareth Academy, seeded third in Section 5 Class B, fell 64-49 to top-seeded Waterloo in the championship game Feb. 23, ending a run of four consecutive sectional titles. The Lasers’ final season record was 18-6.
Our Lady of Mercy, the No. 3 seed in Section 5 Class AA, lost 60-52 to No. 1 Greece Athena in the title game Feb. 28. The Monarchs ended up with an 18-3 record.
And Elmira Notre Dame, seeded No. 3 in Section 4 Class C, was bested in the title game by No. 5 Seton Catholic, 49-42, on Feb. 26. The Crusaders finished with a 17-5 mark.
The Lasers only trailed 9-8 after one quarter against Waterloo, but the Indians held a 41-24 scoring edge over the next two periods to cruise to victory in a rematch of last year’s Class B finalists. Nicole Jones led her team with 18 points, but was the only Nazareth player to reach double figures as the Lasers suffered their first sectional loss in five years.
Nazareth had advanced to the championship game with a 57-32 victory over second-seeded Bath on Feb. 18. Tiffany Sullivan led the way with 14 points, while Jones and Sierra Speed had 11 each.
In their title contest against Greece Athena, the Monarchs used a strong second-quarter run to take a 31-29 halftime advantage. However, the Trojans outscored Mercy 15-8 in the third quarter and held on in the final period. Mercy sophomore scoring star Betsy Jacobson had a strong effort in a losing cause, amassing 26 points and 12 rebounds.
The Monarchs had reached the final game with a 70-56 victory over second-seeded Greece Arcadia on Feb. 22, as Jacobson erupted for 38 points — despite having been sidelined the previous three weeks with a knee injury.
The Crusader girls trailed most of the way against Seton Catholic, but remained within striking distance. Their deficit was only two points, 41-39, before the Saints pulled away in the final 2:30. Stephanie Woychak and Kate Agan led the Crusaders in the title game with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Notre Dame had gained entrance into the sectional final with a 50-46 win over second-seeded Watkins Glen on Feb. 22. Woychak led the balanced Crusader scoring attack with 14 points, and Agan and Margie McKinery had 12 each.
It was a banner year for Notre Dame’s basketball program. In addition to the girls’ success, the Crusader boys’ team compiled a record of 17-3.