GIRLS DIVISION III Bodrick stars for Mooney
She set a school and tournament record with 38 points over South Range.
HANOVERTON -- When Cardinal Mooney's Amber Bodrick broke into the high school basketball scene four years ago, all she wanted was to be remembered as a player who worked hard and helped her team win.
As one of the top players in the Valley, she has earned her share of accolades during her career. During Wednesday's Division III sectional final against South Range, she added two more.
Bodrick set a new school and United sectional/district tournament record with 38 points as the Cardinals won their 17th sectional championship with a 57-45 victory over the Raiders.
"I just wanted to do something that would be remembered," said Bodrick, who broke the tournament record of 37 by Ursuline's Tyra Grant in 2004. "When they told me I was one point away, I really wanted the ball. I think everyone could tell.
"The team really stepped it up and supported me tonight. Gina [Brunetti] passed the ball to me for the record and she really deserves credit for being one of my best friends and for supporting me."
Almost didn't get it
The record almost didn't happen. Stuck on 36 points and time running out, Bodrick missed an open layup with 17 seconds left in the game.
After South Range missed a free throw, the Cardinals pushed the ball down the court and Brunetti tossed the entry pass inside to Bodrick, who laid it in for the milestone.
"After I missed that shot I was thinking, 'I guess tying it is better than nothing,'" she said. "But thank goodness for second chances."
The school record of 36 had stood since 1976, when Mary Ann Simko set it against Villa Maria (Pa.), a school that no longer exists.
While the night belonged to Bodrick, the rest of team fed off her energy to fight off a determined South Range squad.
Raiders rally back
The Raiders cut a 12-point halftime deficit to two, 32-30, with 2:45 left in the third.
But Mooney (13-6) responded with a quick 9-0 outburst to finish the quarter, building a 41-30 advantage.
Despite the efforts of junior Cindy Schuler, who scored 12 second-half points, South Range couldn't close to within six the rest of the way.
Mooney advances to a district semifinal contest against Steel Valley League rival Warren JFK next Thursday at 6 p.m. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 42-36 and 47-43 in two previous meetings this season.
"South Range is a heck of a team," said Mooney coach Jeff Bermann. "They came out and hit their shots and made a run in the third quarter.
"I think our tough schedule and tournament experience helped us step it up when we needed to. I just told the girls that we've come too far not to leave it all out on the floor."
Warren JFK 66, Springfield 58
For the second straight season, Warren JFK knocked off seeded Springfield in the sectional finals.
The win earns the Eagles a sectional title and a district semifinal rematch against Mooney.
JFK (13-9) jumped out to a 20-8 lead against the Tigers, led by eight first-quarter points from Alyssa Chaves. The senior canned two 3-pointers in the opening stanza to get the Eagles rolling.
Chaves, who missed JFK's opening tournament game, looked as healthy as ever. The senior led a balanced scoring attack with 19 points.
Samantha Brys added 14, Aarika Knepp recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds and Katie Piacquadio chipped in with 12.
"Not having Alyssa in that first game really forced the other girls to step up and gave them confidence for tonight," said Kennedy coach Denise Smith. "Katie and Samantha have really stepped it up in our last five games."
JFK led 44-31 after three quarters, but Springfield mounted a comeback to make things interesting. Lindsay Johnson, who finished with a game-high 22 points, had a strong fourth quarter.
Her 3-pointer from the top of the key got the Tigers within 61-53, but there was only 54 seconds left and the deficit proved insurmountable.
With Mooney now standing between JFK and a berth in the district title game, Smith is hoping her squad will take what they learned in previous defeats and make it work into their favor.
"It's going to be a great game," said Smith. "We're both going to want it badly. It's going to be four quarters of mental toughness and the team that is the most consistent all the way through will win.
"We'll try to limit the damage Amber [Bodrick] does and take away all the other options. You can't focus just on Amber because they have plenty of other girls who can step up and score."