It was the shot that broke the hearts of the Portage girls’ basketball team and their legions of fans Friday night at St. Francis University.
With the Mustangs leading 55-54 and time winding down, Bishop Guilfoyle freshman Macy Adams took an off-balance shot from 25-feet away and it went in as the buzzer sounded to give the Marauders a 57-55 win over Portage in the District 6 Class A championship.
“You take that shot 50 times and you might make one or two,” emotional Portage coach Lance Hudak said. “You have to give Macy Adams credit. She hit it.
“They were a little rattled up front and I saw the clock ticking down and was feeling really good about the defense we were in. You don’t want to give up layups. We were up by one point at that time and you want to take away the paint and stop high percentage shots. You just don’t expect somebody to make a shot from there.”
Adams finished with a team-high 20 points, 17 in the first half, while teammate Anne Dombrowski added 14 points and nine rebounds. Brayley Lewis came off the bench to provide 10 points and eight boards.
“Portage did a real nice job doing everything they had to do to defend that last play,” said Bishop Guilfoyle coach Mark Moschella, whose team won its eighth straight district crown. “Macy was the kid who kept us in the game in the first half and then sealed it, and that’s a shot she’ll remember the rest of her life.”
Mustangs’ senior Emily Chobany matched Adams’ points with 20 of her own and senior Olivia McCabe supplied eight points and eight rebounds. Katie Nolan chipped in nine points and Paisley Zatek had seven.
Portage trailed 44-37 at the start of the fourth quarter, but nine of Chobany’s points helped fuel a Mustangs comeback. Portage took its first lead of the second half with 3:43 left.
“Emily Chobany is a great player who plays with her heart on her sleeve every time she steps on the court,” Hudak said. “Tonight we asked her to go man on (leading scorer Lili Benzel) and she held her to nine points.”
There were two more lead changes before the Mustangs went on top 49-47 on a Nolan trey with 3:03 to play and led until the final play of the game.
“I believe our guards’ skill versus their man-defense was really the difference in the fourth,” Hudak said. “As hard as they were overplaying and trying to jump passes, we kept telling the girls that they were going to beat them off the dribble and we started getting a lot of layups. We have quick skilled kids and I think it was a tough matchup for them in their man defense.”
The Mustangs took a 7-0 lead to open the ball game, but the Marauders came back to take a 17-14 lead after the first. Bishop Guilfoyle outscored Portage 14-13 in the second quarter for a 31-27 halftime advantage.
Portage pulled to within one, 36-35, on two free throws by Abby Chobany, but the Marauders again pulled away for a seven-point lead heading into the fourth.
Both teams advance to the PIAA Championships on Saturday at sites and times to be determined. Bishop Guilfoyle, who was the defending district champ, will play the District 9 fourth-place team while Portage plays Berlin Brothersvalley, the District 5 consolation winner.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/CoryIsenbergTD.