High School Sports

St. Joseph’s makes program history in girls’ basketball by winning first-ever state tournament game

Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Denaya Poston-Cooper, seen here last month, scored a career-high 30 points Saturday afternoon in her team’s 52-41 win over Quigley Catholic in the opening round of the PIAA Class A Girls’ Basketball Championships.
Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Denaya Poston-Cooper, seen here last month, scored a career-high 30 points Saturday afternoon in her team’s 52-41 win over Quigley Catholic in the opening round of the PIAA Class A Girls’ Basketball Championships. adrey@centredaily.com

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy made some more girls’ basketball history Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Wolves upended Quigley Catholic 52-41 in the opening round of the PIAA Class A championships, making it the program’s first-ever win in the state tournament. SJCA will next face Sewickley Academy in the Sweet Sixteen on Wednesday at a place and time to be determined.

“Our girls are very proud of themselves,” St. Joseph’s coach Katie Sosnoskie said. “They played hard, they played together, and they valued possessions. It was a total team effort. We’re thrilled.”

St. Joseph’s kept Quigley Catholic at arm’s length most of the game and led 22-16 at halftime at North Hills’ gym. The Lady Wolves led by eight after the third quarter, and they still maintained a two- or three-possession lead even after a fourth-quarter run by Quigley Catholic.

Two of SJCA’s seniors simply refused to lose.

Denaya Poston-Cooper put forth an incredible effort with a career-high 30 points, while Selena Mann added 17 points. The pair combined to outscore Quigley Catholic’s entire team 47-41.

“Denaya had a great game,” Sosnoskie added. “She’s very versatile offensively and is able to score on the perimeter and inside, and we were able to utilize her in the paint today. She was able to take advantage of a mismatch and score multiple ways.”

Defensively, the Lady Wolves limited Quigley Catholic’s top scorer, Taylor Kirchner, to 21 points — thanks to the coverage-by-committee of Maggie Mangene, Kathleen Simander and Brynn Hershbine.

SJCA is now 16-8 on the season, while Quigley Catholic ends its year at 14-12. Quigley Catholic was the third seed out of District 7, and SJCA’s next opponent — Sewickley Academy — is District 7’s sixth seed. Sewickley beat District 9 champ North Clarion 44-35 on Saturday to advance.

“This was extremely important,” Sosnoskie said about her team’s win. “We talked all week about how we want to make a run in the state playoffs.”

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