By Mike Prince
The Public Spirit
After winning its first ever state championship in 2010 and its first Philadelphia Catholic League championship since 1982 just four days earlier, Archbishop Wood decided it was time to add a district championship to its gym’s banners.
Following one of the biggest wins in school history — a 33-31 win over rival Archbishop Carroll in the PCL title game last Monday — the Lady Vikings were crowned District 12 Class AAA champions, defeating Prep Charter 44-34 at Archbishop Ryan High School last Friday.
“Prep Charter is a very well-coached team with two high-caliber Division One players and four or five other players that are going to be playing in college,” Wood coach Jim Ricci said, “so it was hard to get right back up after the Carroll win and put forth a good effort. I thought we made just enough shots and played well defensively and did a good job to get the win. I think it showed that we’ll be tough in states.”
The District 12 title — also known as the City League championship — has only been in existence for three years, with Carroll winning the first two.
The Lady Vikings handled PC easily, leading 9-6 after one quarter and 24-13 at the half. Wood increased that lead to 14 after three, at 32-18, before finally coming out with the 10-point win.
“We were on a high from the PCL title, but I thought that we came out and played hard,” Ricci said. “We may have not been that sharp, but we had a couple really good quarters and kind of hung on. It’s hard to play back-to-back emotional games against teams like that, but I wouldn’t say we had any hangover. We just weren’t that sharp.”
Christine Verrelle led all scorers with 14 points for Wood, which improved to 22-4 overall with the win. Stephanie Keyes added 11, as did Taylor Kamiski, who hit the game-winning layup with two seconds remaining to give the Lady Vikings the PCL championship win. Tiffany Johnson led Prep Charter with 12.
Up next for Wood is a first round PIAA Class AAA game Saturday at 4:30, when the Lady Vikings will face Susquehanna Township (Harrisburg) at Monsignor Bonner. It will be the third year in a row that Wood will be playing in the state tournament.