JOHNSTOWN — “Know your role.”
That was one way Everett head coach Keith Moyer summed up how his team won Friday night’s PIAA Class AA postseason opener against Serra Catholic, 51-43.
While Kaitlyn Maxwell and Madison Hicks held down the scoring. Lizzy Jay, Brooke Colledge, and Kristen Ewing all produced on defense, while Gabby Bulger did what she was asked to do as she entered the game from the bench.
“Our kids know their role and they play it well,” Moyer said after the game. “When we needed a bucket – Brooke Colledge stepped up and hit a three. Kristen Ewing was doing everything she possibly can to disrupt their offense. Lizzy Jay did a good job on the boards tonight. It was a whole team effort.”
However, with everyone doing their part and knowing their role, the Lady Warriors were hesitant to start — missing several easy shots early in the game. That allowed the Lady Eagles to take a 4-0 lead with 5:48 left in the opening period.
That was the only time the locals would trail in the game, despite Serra Catholic’s best efforts.
With 3:44 remaining in the first quarter, Ewing put one back for the first Everett basket as the Lady Warriors were one for six from the field.
Hicks scored three consecutive baskets to push the locals ahead, 8-4, with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
After a Serra Catholic basket by Rayna Andrews, Maxwell recorded a five-point stretch for the Lady Warriors, pushing them towards a 13-6 lead.
The teams exchanged baskets, with Maxwell scoring one with 12 seconds left, putting Everett ahead, 15-8.
“We weren’t ourselves tonight. We were a little sluggish,” Moyer added. “We didn’t have the energy we usually have and I’m not sure why. I guess the first round of the state playoffs can get to kids. We settled in after the first three, four minutes of the game.”
Hicks and Maxwell scored a combined six points before Andrews added a basket for the Lady Eagles, as the visitors trailed, 21-10.
Colledge scored a three before Serra Catholic followed suite. Hicks was fouled by Andrews and the Lady Warrior converted both attempts from the foul line. The Lady Eagles outscored the locals, 4-2, to trail by 11 at the half, 28-17.
The Lady Eagles started out the second half with a three-pointer, but the combination of Maxwell and Hicks pushed the locals ahead, 32-20, after a combined four points.
The Lady Eagles began to slowly erase the deficit. Andrews and Gigi Mele-Madigan scored a combined four points. Following a Maxwell lay-up, the Lady Eagles recorded another four-point stretch to make the deficit six points with four minutes left in the third period, 34-28.
Mele-Madigan scored a three-pointer after a Hicks basket, making it a five-point game with 2:25 left in the third quarter, 36-31.
Colledge took a Ewing pass and dropped a three-pointer to push the locals ahead, 39-31. The Lady Eagles scored twice more from the foul line, while the Lady Warriors added a free throw to lead 40-33 as the game entered the fourth.
Andrews handled much of the scoring for the Lady Eagles in the fourth quarter, starting the final period out with a lay-up after recording a steal. Jay came through with a bucket for the Lady Warriors, but Andrews answered with three points to cut the deficit to four points, 42-38.
Maxwell was fouled twice as she scored baskets for Everett and she converted on both free throw attempts to make it a 10-point game, 48-38.
Mele-Madigan scored on a pair of free throws in the remaining 90 seconds, while Andrews missed two timely foul shots, as the Lady Eagles trailed by eight, 48-40.
Maxwell added a free throw before Andrews scored a three-pointer with 35 seconds left to play.
Serra Catholic abruptly called for a timeout following the Andrews three-pointer. Rian Watson got a turnover for the Lady Eagles, but as she went inside for a lay-up she was called for her fifth foul of the night — giving the ball back to the Lady Warriors.
Moyer called for a timeout and following the timeout Maxwell was fouled. She scored both attempts to give the Lady Warriors some breathing room, 51-43.
Serra Catholic’s Grace Navarro missed a shot and Maxwell came down with the defensive rebound to secure the 51-43 victory.
Maxwell led all scorers with 23 points, while Hicks finished with a double-double. She scored 18 points and recorded 17 rebounds.
Andrews led Serra Catholic with 16 points.
“Maddie Hicks and Kaitlyn Maxwell were tremendous tonight,” Moyer noted. “That was quite a performance by those guys. Our supporting cast did what we needed to do. I thought we played great defense.
“Andrews was a little better than we thought she was. She hurt us a little bit tonight.”
The victory advances Everett to the Class AA quarterfinals with a rematch with Bishop Canevin. The Lady Warriors fell to the Lady Crusaders a year ago, 46-30. Bishop Canevin beat Maplewood, 67-44, on Friday night.
The two will meet on Tuesday. No additional details were made available at presstime.
PIAA Class AA First Round (5-1) EVERETT 51, (7-5) SERRA CATHOLIC 43
Serra Catholic 8 9 16 10 — 43
Everett 15 13 12 11 — 51
Serra Catholic (43) — Gigi Mele-Madigan (1) 3 2-4 11; Grace Navarro 1 0-0 2; Rayna Andrews (1) 6 1-3 16; Nicole Pawlowski (1) 0 0-0 3; Emma Nilson 1 0-0 2; Brianna Pastrenak (1) 0 2-2 5; Rian Watson 1 0-0 2; Chloe Pordash 1 0-0 2. Totals: (4) 13 5-9 43.
Everett (51) — Lizzy Jay 1 0-0 2; Brooke Colledge (2) 0 0-0 6; Kristen Ewing 1 0-0 2; Gabby Bulger 0 0-0 0; Madison Hicks 5 8-11 18; Kaitlyn Maxwell (1) 6 8-11 23. Totals: (3) 13 16-22 51.