By Jim Dolan
St. John’s Prep 36
Second-seeded Fontbonne (10-2) hosted third-seeded St. John’s Prep (8-4) in the Division II Varsity GCHSAA 2012 semifinal playoff round on March 1 at Bishop Kearney High School. The teams had split their regular-season series during their climb to the playoffs.
In a low-scoring first half, St. John’s took a 12-11 halftime lead as the Bonnies were outrebounded and stopped on the perimeter from scoring. Going into the third quarter, Kate Oliver’s three-point shot, followed by mid-range jumpers by Deirdre Lavelle and Siobhan Sammon, broke through the Red Storm’s defense to put the Bonnies ahead, 26-21.
In the final quarter, Cindy Henderson (13 points) grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for the score to increase Fontbonne’s lead to 33-25 at the 7:02 mark. Fontbonne’s lead quickly dwindled down to 36-33 as the Red Storm went on an eight-point run with two minutes left in the game.
Kristen Sullivan’s score from the paint, followed by Niahve Rivera’s pressure-packed free throw, allowed the Bonnies to maintain a three-point lead at 39-36 with 30 seconds left. After returning from the bench with a sprained right knee, Kate Oliver (11 points) made two clutch free throws to send Fontbonne to this season’s final round to compete for the championship.
In the subsequent semifinal game, Bishop Kearney defeated St. Edmund Prep, 52-39, to set up a Fontbonne-Kearney Brooklyn-Queens final. With Kearney’s recent move to Division II, this will be the first time that these schools will face each other in a championship game on the hardwood.