Villa Maria races to championship

The Hurricanes rolled over Villa Joseph Marie for their sixth district title in nine seasons.

Posted: March 04, 2012

Balanced scoring, effective defensive pressure, and key bench contributions paved the way for Villa Maria's sixth PIAA District 1 Class AAA basketball championship in the last nine seasons.

On top of that, the Hurricanes shot 22 for 23 from the free-throw line in knocking off Villa Joseph Marie, 52-39, and defending their crown Saturday at Haverford College.

"Winning never gets old," said Villa Maria coach Kathy McCartney, whose squad beat the Jems for the fourth time this season. "I'm excited about this one as I was when we won our first one in 1992."

Seniors Kellie O'Rourke and Maddie McTigue, who grew up together in West Chester, combined for 19 points and 12 rebounds to spark the Hurricanes to their eighth district title.

O'Rourke, a 5-foot-7 guard and three-point specialist, went 6 for 6 from the line and hit a second-quarter trey en route to 13 points. She added six rebounds (three on offense), three assists, two steals, and a blocked shot.

McTigue, a 5-9 forward, totaled six points, six boards (two on offense), three assists, three steals, and a block.

Fellow starters Kelly Anthony (seven second-half points), Lisa Mirarchi (three assists, three steals), and Maddie Joyce (4 for 4 from the line) combined for 19 points.

"As long as we win, nobody cares who gets the ink," McCartney said. "They just want to win the basketball game."

The Athletic Association of Catholic Academies champs forced Villa Joe into 18 turnovers, including 12 in the opening 16 minutes.

"The pressure we put on people creates most of our offense," McCartney said.

On Saturday, in the opening round of the state tournament, Villa Maria (23-4) will face West York (20-7), District 3's fifth-place qualifier. Villa Joseph Marie (15-11) will take on Trinity (20-7), District 3's fourth-place finisher.

The Hurricanes were ahead, 26-20, at halftime. An 8-2 run at the start of the third quarter, capped by McTigue's jumper, made it 34-22.

"Villa Joe works really hard," O'Rourke said. "The team has its nose to the grindstone at all times. We had to keep our focus."

McTigue's sister, Chelsea, starred at Villa Maria from 2003 to 2007 and was a 1,000-point scorer at Immaculata. "She always pushes me to be a better player," said Maddie McTigue, who will play lacrosse at Temple.

Hurricanes reserves Jackie Carlin and Molly Namiotka, both sophomores, teamed up for 11 first-half points. "They killed it out there," O'Rourke said. "They've been doing that a lot lately."

Mary Newell, a senior forward, paced the Jems, who shot 16 for 36 from the field, with 19 points and nine boards.

Villa Joseph Marie 9 11 10 9 – 39

Villa Maria 7 19 17 9 – 52

VJM: Melissa Poderis 6, Sarah Madden 5, Mary Newell 19, Courtney Shaw 2, Kelly Coleman 4, Erin Wilker 3.

VM: Lisa Mirarchi 6, Kellie O'Rourke 13, Kelly Anthony 7, Maddie McTigue 6, Maddie Joyce 4, Jackie Carlin 6, Molly Namiotka 8, Lexi Daggett 2.


Contact Rick O'Brien

at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or @ozoneinq on Twitter.

Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone

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