WASHINGTON – The Paul VI High School girls’ basketball team certainly wasn’t looking past Friday’s game at Archbishop Carroll, but any chance of taking the Lions lightly disappeared after they pulled off an upset win over Holy Cross on Tuesday.
“Oh yeah, that definitely made us even more determined than we already were,” PVI sophomore forward Ariana Freeman said. “We knew they beat Holy Cross and Holy Cross is a great team, so we wanted to come out here and really just make a statement for ourselves.”
Freeman led the way, scoring 15 of her game-high 24 points in the second half as Paul VI picked up a 59-53 victory over Carroll in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference matchup.
“Anytime you come to Carroll, it’s going to be a battle,” PVI coach Scott Allen said. “I mean, they’re very athletic, [senior guard Alliyah] Berger’s one of the best players in the league, and they play hard. So it’s tough; it’s a tough atmosphere to play in, so anytime you can come over here and get out of here with a win, you’re excited.”
Senior guard Marlena Tremba scored 11 points for the Panthers, while sophomore guard Lindsey Oblitey added nine and junior guard Lauren Cox had eight.
Sophomore Montana Wigfall scored 15 points to lead Archbishop Carroll, which got an off-shooting night from Berger. After scoring 32 points in the win against Holy Cross, she managed just nine points against PVI, failing to reach double figures for the first time this season.
“We just didn’t come ready to play,” Carroll coach Edythe White said. “We dug ourselves a hole, and if you know anything about basketball, sometimes if you dig that whole, there’s not enough time left in the game to get out of it. I think as a coach, you can say if we had five or six more minutes we maybe could have pulled it out, but I think that we just didn’t make the plays that we needed to offensively. I thought that we showed that tenacity that we needed on defense and got some stops, but like I said, there were opportunities that we missed that hurt us.”
Those opportunities were especially apparent in the second half, when the Lions had several shots come tantalizingly close to going in, only to roll off the rim.
The Panthers (11-2 overall, 4-0 in the WCAC) had no such trouble. They led 18-14 after one quarter and outscored the Lions 14-6 in the second quarter to take a 32-20 lead at the half.
Carroll (9-4, 2-1) made a run in the final five minutes to claw within reach, but the Panthers got a huge 3-pointer from Tremba and made key free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
“We’re a team that’s still young,” Allen said. “We’re going to make some mental errors – especially in an atmosphere that’s really loud and energetic and momentum’s going with the other team – but I think we hit some big shots when we needed to, hit some big free throws when we needed to, and got some big rebounds when we needed to, and that was the key, because [Carroll is] great on the glass.”
Freeman – who is rated the No. 15 sophomore in the country by ESPN – said she feels that despite their youth, the Panthers have the potential to make noise in the WCAC this year.
“I think right now we’re the underdogs,” she said. “Everybody looks at us and underestimates us, but I think our team has so much potential. I mean, it doesn’t take talent to play hard, and I think we play hard.”
Of course, the Panthers’ road doesn’t get any easier, as they travel to Good Counsel (12-3, 5-0) for another big game on Tuesday.
“It’s crazy,” Freeman said. “This league is one of the toughest leagues in the country, I believe. The WCAC, we have Good Counsel, St. John’s – it’s just tough. Every night you’ve got to practice, every night you’ve got to get better, and every night you’ve got to come to perform.”
Despite the loss, White said she feels her team – which hosts Bishop O’Connell on Wednesday – also has the potential to be special this season.
“I think the sky is the limit when we come ready to play – offensively and defensively,” she said. “We’re going to get in the gym and get that offensive side fixed a little bit more. Kids have got to step up when Berger’s having an off-night. I feel like if some of those kids had at least been able to give us maybe even just six or eight points apiece, we win the game.”
Ariana Freeman 24, Marlena Tremba 11, Lindsey Oblitey 9, Lauren Cox 8, Kasey Curtis 6, Kendall Hunter 1.
Montana Wigfall 15, Kenyatta Butler 12, Courtney Crawford 10, Alliyah Berger 9, Olivia Turner 5, Ryla Vessels 2.
Paul VI 18 14 13 14 – 59
Carroll 14 6 15 18 – 53
3-pointers: PVI 4 (Tremba 2, Oblitey 2), AC 3 (Butler 2, Berger 1). Fouled Out – None. Technical fouls – None.
Top: Paul VI's Ariana Freeman goes up for a lay-in in the second half. Right: PVI's Marlena Tremba splits the Archbishop Carroll defense and heads to the rim. - Photos by Marcus Helton, DMV Elite.
Contact DMV Elite Editor-in-Chief Marcus Helton at email@example.com or on Twitter. Also, check out DMV Elite on Facebook!