DIVISION III GIRLS Mooney, Ursuline set for title match again
The Cardinals routed JFK 47-30, while the Irish breezed past Brookfield.
HANOVERTON -- Ursuline vs. Mooney, Part III.
That will be the feature presentation Saturday afternoon at United High School, as the Irish and Cardinals will square off for the third time this season, with a Division III district championship on the line.
Mooney got off to a 17-1 start against Warren JFK and never looked back, pounding the Eagles 47-30 in the first district semifinal Thursday night.
Ursuline followed suit in the nightcap, running away from Brookfield 47-29, setting up a rematch of last year's district title tilt.
"It is a friendly war," said Mooney coach Jack Bermann, speaking of the battle with Ursuline. "It's a great rivalry between two good programs. Obviously, we want to win, but we just want to keep the district title in the Steel Valley."
"Every kid at Ursuline wants to play Mooney and every kid there wants to play us," said Ursuline coach Sean Durkin. "That's just the way it is. If we were playing tiddlywinks, it would be a big game."
Irish hold upperhand
The Irish have had the upperhand in the recent past. Mooney's last win came in the 2000 district title game, 60-56 in overtime. The Cards eventually fell in the regional semifinals to eventual state champion Regina.
This season, Ursuline beat Mooney 50-37 and 64-48. The Irish handed the Cards a 72-50 setback in last year's district championship game and will be seeking their fifth straight trip to the regionals.
The Cardinals' defense shut down the Eagles early, holding them to just one field goal and four total points in the first half.
Kennedy missed its first 10 shots and didn't make a field goal for the first 12:22 of the game. By then, Mooney held a comfortable 19-4 and Amber Bodrick had 14 points.
"No question about it, we just play tough man-to-man defense and at this level you have to if you expect to win a district championship," said Bermann. "Obviously, it wasn't the start they wanted and was the one we wanted."
It was no secret where Mooney's offense was going to come from, yet JFK had no success in stopping Bodrick. In fact, no team in the tournament has come close. The senior is averaging 32.5 points per game in three postseason contests.
"When Amber walks into this gym, she just lights up," said Bermann. "It started with the Columbiana game last year and since then she's just gone off. Everyone knows we're going to give her the ball. I just think the other girls do a good job of getting her the ball in great positions to score."
Bodrick finished with a game-high 28 points, including 17 in the first half. The bulk of her points came off fast break opportunities, as the Cards controlled the defensive boards.
JFK coach Denise Smith wasn't surprised by anything Mooney had in its game plan.
"They didn't do anything different than the other times we played them," said Smith. "Our shots just weren't falling. I thought we rushed some shots in the first quarter and didn't hit the offensive boards like we should have.
"We tried not to let their defense get us into a stall mode and we tried to attack and create offense, but everything we [shot] missed."
Brookfield kept it close for a quarter, rallying from a 17-6 deficit to get within 17-11 with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
Freshman Morgan Bonekovic was a force inside, scoring six points in the opening quarter. Jacki Rust's 3-pointer cut into the deficit.
But Tyra Grant and Vannessa Dickson sparked a 14-4 Irish run to end the second quarter and seize momentum. Grant (12) and Dickson (13) combined for 25 first-half points, while Brookfield managed just 15.
"Brookfield really played hard and hung in there for a while," said Durkin. "In the second quarter we got the tempo we wanted and started hitting our shots. It was nice to have that cushion at the half."
Brookfield played better ball in the final two quarters, being outscored just 35-27.
Grant led all scorers with 30 points, while Dickson added 15.