Strong start spurs Archbishop Wood

Posted: March 10, 2014

There are a lot of impressive things about the way the Archbishop Wood girls' basketball team plays the game, but what might stand out the most is that the Vikings don't have one star player.

Jess Kaminski does the little things for the Vikings. The senior point guard is poised, makes smart decisions, and is all over the floor on defense.

Junior Aubree Brown can shoot, is quick in the transition game, and has good hands.

As for sophomore Bailey Greenberg, she's developing into a real offensive threat both inside and outside the paint.

Then there are the stingy team defense and all the three-point shooters.

Wood doesn't have one star because the star is the program itself.

That was perhaps never more apparent than Saturday, when the Vikings rolled in a decisive first-round PIAA Class AAA state-tournament contest, defeating Berks Catholic, 69-43, at Archbishop Carroll.

"It is better for the starters to go really hard and then we know that we have a great bench coming in for us to give us a break," Brown said. "We have a much better bench than a lot of other teams."

It was a win months in the making for the Vikings (23-3), a victory first fostered in Arizona, where Wood participated in the Nike Tournament of Champions.

If it was in Phoenix that the Vikings first set the tone for the rest of the season, it was games against St. Mary's (N.Y) and Bethlehem Catholic that demonstrated just how good the team could be.

Just how good can the Vikings be? Most likely, very good.

The result was never in doubt at Carroll, as Wood ran away with the contest in the second quarter, taking a 38-25 advantage into intermission.

Brown ended up with a game-high 23 points. Kaminski and Greenberg added 14 apiece.

Berks Catholic was led by Devon Merrit's 11 points and Katrina Balatgek's nine.

Next up for the Vikings is a second-round game against Villa Maria (16-11) on Wednesday. That's the same round in which Wood lost a season ago.

"Especially because there are nine of us [seniors], I think it means a lot more," Kaminski said. "I think it gets to our heart. We want to win because last year was so upsetting."

Berks Catholic 8 17 7 11 - 43

Archbishop Wood 16 22 8 23 - 69

BC: Devon Merritt 11, Katrina Balatgek 9, Courtney Wensel 8, MiKayla Lee 6, Brooke Wensel 3, Olivia Zdradzinski 2, Olivia Blankenbiller 2, Haley Kubinak 2.

AW: Aubree Brown 23, Jess Kaminski 14, Bailey Greenberg 14, Rachel Day 7, Catey McFadden 5, Emily Kiersnowski 3, Brittany Keyes 3.

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