"I love cheering these girls on because they make me better every single day at practice," said Picinich, a forward. Just playing against them to make them better at practice makes me better, and then when I get to play, I cherish every second."
The Hurricanes (23-5) jumped out to a 9-2 lead after one quarter and relied on a stellar zone defense, which forced 11 turnovers by Scranton Prep (27-3) in the first half.
Lisa Mirarchi led Villa in scoring, netting seven points in the first 16 minutes and racking up steals on the other end. The senior guard finished with 19 points and was 8 for 8 from the foul line in playing every second of the quarterfinal.
At halftime, the Hurricanes, ranked eighth in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, remained in the lead, 20-14, as no field goals were scored on either side in the final six minutes of the second quarter.
Villa continued to smother the Classics with its zone defense in the second half, frustrating Scranton and forcing bad shots.
"We were probably the biggest underdogs today. I think people are probably shocked, but we aren't," Villa junior Jackie Carlin said.
The Hurricanes took control in the fourth, going 9 for 10 from the foul line and being extremely patient on the offensive end.
Villa Maria will face Bethlehem Catholic in the state semifinals Tuesday, at a time and place to be determined.
"I want it this year, for these girls," Picinich said. "So we are going to bring it."
Villa Maria 9 11 13 15 – 48
Scranton Prep 2 12 10 6 – 30
VM: Lisa Mirarchi 19, Jackie Carlin 11, Molly Namiotka 7, Marielle Picinich 7, Lexi Daggett 2, Mora Fetterolf 2.
SP: Olivia Burke 16, Tricia Byrne 4, Bridget Walsh 4, Jordan Mellow 2, Emily Pritchyk 2, Sam Geneo 2.
Contact Kate Harman at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ka_harman.