The Catholic Central League battle of defending state championships lived up to the hype and then some.
Dejah Jenkins sent the game into overtime on a conventional 3-point play with 0.1 seconds left in regulation, then Ariana Vanderhoop’s layup with 25.4 seconds left gave Cathedral (6-3 overall, 5-0 in the CCL) a wild 71-68 victory over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Archbishop Williams last night.
“It was everything people said it would be,” said Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter, whose team is the defending Div. 4 state champions. “I don’t think we’ve ever beaten a No. 1 team in school history, so this was big for us.”
Trailing 57-50 entering the fourth quarter, Archbishop Williams relied on the all-around play of Asiah Dingle (28 points, 9 rebounds) and a pair of key hoops by Megan Marcel to take a 63-62 lead. Dingle then added a pair of free throws to give the Bishops (8-1, 4-1) a 65-62 lead, setting the stage for Jenkins’ dramatic driving basket and subsequent free throw to deadlock things.
“I didn’t know how much time was left, but I knew it was close,” said Jenkins, who finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. “I wasn’t nervous at the line because I know I am a good free throw.”
Marcel opened the extra session with a layup, then Mackenzie Daleba (20 points, 16 rebounds) knocked down a line drive from beyond the arc to give Cathedral a 68-67 lead. Dingle hit a free throw to tie the score, then Vanderhoop emerged as the hero with her basket. Taliyah Countrymon sealed the deal with a steal in the waning moments.
Archbishop Williams, who won the Div. 3 crown last year, jumped out to a quick 14-3 lead as Dingle scored seven and Monica Spain (15 points) added a trey. The Panthers slowed fought their way back into the game, getting to within 40-37 at the half. Vanderhoop and Ciana Gibson combined for 13 points in the half.
“We had three starters on the bench with fouls, so our reserves stepped up and played great,” Lassiter said. “They gave us a lift when we needed it.”