By Jerry Del Priore
It seemed like every time host Bishop Kearney needed a big basket against Notre Dame Academy (Staten Island), senior Casey O’Shaughnessy stepped up and banged one home, leading the Tigers (5-3) to a 61-58 comeback win Tuesday in non-league Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) girls Class A action.
O’Shaughnessy scored a game-high 42 points, including eight three-pointers.
Both clubs seemed to sleepwalk its way through the first half, with the Gators taking a 31-23 lead into the locker room.
Bishop Kearney head coach Rocco Sellitto went as far as saying both squads seemed lifeless in the first half, especially his. But that all changed in the second, as O’Shaughnessy drained 32 her 42-point output, while its defensive play improved.
“It was like both teams were sleeping in the beginning of the game; that’s what it felt like.” Sellitto said. “Who was going to wake up to win the game? So we got a little more energy in the fourth quarter, not even the third quarter. Of course, Casey started hitting shots. But we were able to get a couple of stops here and there.”
Sellitto, a podiatrist by day, said it did help that Notre Dame’s outside shooting fell by the wayside in the second half. But he noted that it came down to the Tigers converting free throws and their improved defensive play.
“They stopped hitting their shots,” he said. “Earlier in the game, they were hitting a lot of their outside shots. We gave up a lot uncontested shots early. I think we played a little better defense in the second half. But it came down to fouls (shooting).”
The 17-year-old sparkplug scored 11 straight Bishop Kearney points to cut the deficit to 37-36 with 3:58 left in the third period.
After junior Bridget Rose nailed a three pointer to knot the tilt at 39 all, O’Shaughnessy gave the Tigers a two-point advantage when she sank two free throws with around a minute to play in the quarter.
Next, the five-foot-seven point guard buried a trey to give Bishop Kearney a 44-39 lead with 23.2 remaining in the third.
O’Shaughnessy dropped another huge shot from behind the arc to swell the gap to 47-39 early in the fourth period before Notre Dame responded with a bucket of its own to cut the advantage to six points.
However, true to hardwood form, O’Shaughnessy found the bottom of the net once more to put the Tigers up by eight again. Another O’Shaughnessy successful foul shot increased Bishop Kearney’s margin to nine points with 5:12 ticks left on the clock.
But seven consecutive Gator points brought the contest to 50-48 in favor of the Tigers.
Nevertheless, when Bishop Kearney needed to lean on her again, O’Shaughnessy didn’t disappoint, and came through with another ringing three-pointer for a 53-48 lead with 4:05 to go in the tilt.
Notre Dame brought the game to within 53-52 with approximately two minutes remaining. But, as you probably guessed it, O’Shaughnessy came up big, drilling back-to-back threes for a 59-52 Tiger advantage with a little over a minute remaining in the contest.
“Once I get hot, I just keep shooting,” O’Shaughnessy said of finding her magic scoring touch. “If I keep shooting, they’re going to come up, press up and I’m going to go by them, and make plays for other people.”
The Gators came as close as 59-56 with 23.6 beats left in the affair. But Bishop Kearney managed to hold off Notre Dame for the exciting victory.
Senior Kathleen Egan contributed nine points while Rose chipped in with seven.
The Tigers travel to Park Slope Monday to play CHSAA Class B St. Savior at 5:00 p.m.
Please View Casey O’Shaughnessy Going to the Hoop for Two Points and One in Video Below!!