By TIM CLEVELAND
For the first quarter-plus of its game Saturday night against Ursuline, things weren’t going very well for Girard.
The Indians trailed 25-18 in the Division III sectional final at Mineral Ridge High School and called a timeout with 4:25 left in the first half. Girard coach Andy Saxon got his team back on the right track, as the Indians took the lead by the end of the half and went to a 56-47 victory.
“We just had to make the plays,” Saxon said. “We wanted to eliminate second shots and we didn’t have anybody back on transitions. We calmed down, got our momentum back.”
Leading the way for Girard (18-6) were Bree Bishop and Miranda Boyle. The duo combined for 43 points.
The Indians had pulled to within 25-22 when the officials called for a held ball. Ursuline (8-15) coach Courtney Davidson was called for a technical foul as a result. Boyle made both technical free throws and later added two more as Girard led 26-25 at halftime.
“I dropped the water bottle and (the referee) called a tech,” Ursuline coach Courtney Davidson said. “Just trying to motivate my kids. I felt like we should’ve been getting some foul calls that we weren’t getting all night.”
The game remained tight heading into the fourth quarter, as the teams exchanged the advantage back and forth. The Indians began to pull away in the fourth, as Hayley Spalla twice got behind the Ursuline defense on inbounds plays.
Sydney Beasley led the Irish with 20 points. She scored to close the deficit to 49-43 with 1:13 to play, but that was as close as Ursuline would get.
United beat South Range, 53-44, later in the night.
United (22-2) led by as much as 30-15 in the first half and made it appear it would have an easy night, but South Range (13-11) fought its way back into the game.
The Raiders went on a 19-8 to pull within 38-34 heading into the fourth quarter. Sierra Petrella’s steal and layup at the buzzer capped the run.
“We just had to get focused again,” United coach Sam Mathias said. “This is the third time we’ve played them. They played us really well. We knew it was going to be a fight tonight.”
South Range coach Wayne Johnson said getting some better looks was the key to getting back in the game.
“We got some transition plays and we got some easy baskets,” he said. “We created some turnovers and were able to attack and get some good looks.”