In an electric 4A Semi-Final match-up, the Seton Catholic Lady Sentinels held off an upset-minded Mesquite Lady Wildcats squad. Coach Candice Gonzales had a fantastic strategy in running a zone most of the game, to force the Lady Sentinels to move the basketball and take lower percentage shots. To start the game, Coach Gonzales’ Lady Wildcats sparked a 6-0 run.
The run prompted Seton Catholic’s Coach Karen Self to burn a 30-second timeout to regroup her troops. Coach Self pumped life back into her players offensively, as they were able to score some buckets. Mesquite held a two-point lead after the first quarter.
To open up the 2nd quarter, Seton Catholic implemented a full-court press to razzle Mesquite’s offensive tempo. The result was bad shot selection and forced turnovers. The Lady Sentinels were able to climb back and take a two point lead at half time. Junior Guard Lexi McNabb hit some big shots to spark the run.
The Lady Sentinels looked warmed up to open the 3rd quarter. Forwards Amanda Barcello and Bella DiGiovanni looked to be in a better rhythm on both ends of the floor. That rhythm with a solid defensive effort from guards Sasha Daniel and Amelie Cartagena helped Seton Catholic to a 15-6 run in the 3rd quarter.
The 3rd quarter run with some key defensive stops were enough to hold off Mesquite where the Lady Sentinels were victorious 39-35. Mesquite had probably the strongest individual performances from Senior Guard Alaya Fitzgerald who finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assists.
Here are the top performers from the game:
2021 5-11 Guard Alaya Fitzgerald - She put up an impressive performance on both ends, nice shooting ability, ball handling and cleans the glass well. A strong presence on both ends a nice mid-major prospect (committed to Portland St). She nearly carried her team on her back and almost single handedly beat the #1 team in 4A. She is a winner and Portland State got a solid prospect to commit.
2021 5-8 Guard Priscila Varela - An elite ball handling guard who has an excellent motor on both ends of the floor. She has the ability to drive, create and finish. An under the radar prospect who plays at a high level college coaches take note. She has the athleticism and skill to play at the next level, with her skillset, size and athleticism, she could be a steal for a low major or d-2 school, but has the upside of playing at the mid major level.
2021 6-0 Guard/Forward Amanda Barcello - A big time Mid-Major Plus prospect (BYU commit) who is versatile and can play all five positions. She has impressive ball handling, footwork, facilitating ability and scoring ability. Despite her slow start in the game, she was able to warm up and make some great plays. BYU got a steal as I think she has the talent, size and ability to play at a high major.
2021 6-1 Forward Bella DiGiovanni - A solid low major-mid major prospect (Dartmouth commit) a strong presence inside who can defend the paint well. She has soft hands and moves well for size. A great IQ and looks to clean the glass on both ends, as well as sets solid screens on offense and knows how to utilize the pick and roll.
2022 5-7 Guard Lexi McNabb - An impressive mid-major plus/high major prospect. Elite scoring ability from all ranges, defends well and can control the tempo of the game. She was the X-factor in leading her team to the semi-final win. College coaches should line up to offer this talented young lady.
2022 5-4 Guard Sasha Daniel - A scrappy guard who is a spark plug on defense. Compliments her team and has solid decision making, vision and range. I anticipate her having a bigger game in the championship game.
2023 5-4 Guard Amelie Cartagena - Another scrappy guard who helped sparked a solid defensive stand in the 1st half. She has great ball handling and a good motor on both ends of the floor. She showed glimpses of a nice scoring ability. College coaches take note she’s only a sophomore and I anticipate her improving over the next two years.