Holy Cross blows past Seton School


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MANASSAS — Seton girls basketball coach Dick Pennefather talked highly about his substitution pattern: Make wholesale changes by bringing in a fresh group of five players at a time. But no matter who Pennefather inserted into the lineup, Seton had no answer for Holy Cross’ inside game.

In the Gaels’ 59-34 win on Tuesday night in the Virginia Independent Schools state tournament, Holy Cross’ duo of Heathers — inside players Kogul and McBride — had little trouble maneuvering through the lane. Kogul tallied seven points and 12 rebounds, and that was just by halftime. McBride scored a game-high 25 points — most of her shots coming from inside the paint — and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Kogul and McBride had that many rebounds because of Seton’s offensive struggles. The Conquistadors (24-6) suffered through a miserable shooting night: They hit just six shots in 30 attempts in the first half and finished 13 of 57 — a chilly 22.8 percent.

“We were cold. We’ve been in the gym for weeks and we’ve been shooting the lights out,” said Pennefather. “We got open looks from three, and normally those are shots that we hit.”

It was never more apparent during the fourth quarter, when Holy Cross (17-5) put an exclamation point on the win. With McBride and Kogul leading the way, the Gaels outscored Seton 20-8 in the fourth. Holy Cross allowed just three Seton points in the final six minutes as the Gaels turned a comfortable 12-point lead into an insurmountable 25-point lead.

Midway through the fourth, McBride and Kogul scored 10 straight Holy Cross points.

From the start, Holy Cross was in control. The Gaels opened up a 9-3 lead midway through the first quarter, and the six-point advantage only grew from there, swelling to 11 points by halftime. Twice in the first half, the Conquistadors had stretches of three minutes or more without a point.

The Gaels’ lead reached 15 as the third quarter wound down and hit 20 points midway through the fourth quarter.

The win pushes Holy Cross — located in Lynchburg — into the VIS Division II state semifinals. The loss means the end of the season for Seton, which lost two stars before the season ever began: senior Elena Jones suffered a knee injury during the fall, and junior Bridget Coolley also missed all of the basketball season.

While two seniors — Liz Sewell and Molly Wilkinson — will depart through graduation, Seton’s team next year will look much the same as it did Tuesday night. Junior standouts Lizzie Wilson and Mary Grimburg return, as does eighth-grader Alexa McMillan, who scored a team-high 11 points on Tuesday.

“These kids are a wonderful group. We go 10-deep with a two-system wave … we use a platoon,” said Pennefather. “We’re pushing toward that, but it’s hard until you get 10 players, and we’ll have more than that next year. We’ve got a lot of really good athletes, and that’s what you want.”

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