Jason Guarente (@JasonGuarente)
When they were opponents many years ago, occasionally clashing at a CYO game, a mutual respect developed between Maggie Doogan and Annie Welde.
Once they were united as teammates at Cardinal O’Hara, their talents grew into something more. They became a force. Two unselfish 6-footers who always seemed to know where the other was going.
Anne Welde (above, in Dec.) has a longtime connection with O'Hara teammate Maggie Doogan. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Doogan and Welde have a connection that has been building since they first put on the same uniform.
“It was amazing,” Doogan said. “We were still growing into our bodies a little bit as freshmen. As we got older, we kept pushing each other at practice. That chemistry bonded once we got on the court.”
As they inch toward the end of their high school careers, they have a final mission. They want to capture another PIAA championship. O’Hara took the next step by defeating Greencastle-Antrim 57-29 in the Class 5A second round at West York Sunday.
O’Hara will face Springfield in the quarterfinals Wednesday at a site and time to be determined. It’s a rematch of last year’s semifinals, won by the Lions on their way to the title.
Doogan and Welde play off each other like few forwards can. Both have guard skills and a guard mentality. They can see over defenses and have great instincts.
“We’ve played so many games together, had so many practices, you adjust to each other and realize what people are good at,” Welde said. “It comes with time and effort. We know where people are going to be and we have a basketball IQ that helps us get the ball where it needs to be.”
Doogan slashed into the lane and kicked to Welde for a 3-pointer on the wing in the second quarter. The 6-2 senior threaded a pass to the 6-foot Welde on the low block for two more points in the third. Welde returned the favor by driving and dishing to Doogan for a 3 in the fourth.
It was like passing a baton. Not many teams have the personnel to defend those plays.
“It’s four years of playing a lot of basketball together,” O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan said. “They both have great hands. If you just get it close to them, they can catch and gather and finish, which is nice.”
O’Hara immediately took control against Greencastle-Antrim (21-5), the fifth-place finisher in District 3. The Lions opened with a 14-3 run and owned a 19-point lead at halftime.
Maggie Doogan (above, in Feb.) scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards in O'Hara's win Sunday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Doogan finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Welde contributed 10 points and nine rebounds. A lot of that success came from each other.
“We’ve played so many games together,” Maggie Doogan said. “It just kind of worked out. It’s repetition. Getting comfortable with each other.”
Freshman Molly Rullo scored a game-high 22 points, including seven in the first quarter. Joanie Quinn scored nine points in a 3:12 stretch before halftime.
Doogan, a University of Richmond recruit, is an excellent passer for any size. Her mom and coach said that comes from hours of film study. It began during COVID when everyone was stuck in quarantine and continues to this day.
“We talk about being unselfish and not caring who has the points,” Chrissie Doogan said. “If the defense takes away one of them, the other one is open. As long as we’re willing to share the ball and keep the ball moving, we’re pretty good.”
The offense starts with point guard Sydni Scott and flows through the rest of the lineup. Scott is another senior starter. No one is faster off the dribble and that opens up the floor for everyone else.
O’Hara (13-15) won the Philadelphia Catholic League championship but was dropped to the third seed out of District 12 because of the use of an ineligible player. The Lions were forced to forfeit some of their PCL victories. That hasn’t slowed down their pursuit of a state title.
For O’Hara, there’s an adrenaline rush that comes with finding the open girl and watching her hit the shot.
“It’s like making a 3 yourself,” Doogan said. “Once you pass and get your teammates open, it’s the same kind of feeling.”
Doogan-to-Welde, or vice versa, is a tough combination to stop. The seniors are happy they wound up on the same side.
Cardinal O’Hara: 14 | 18 | 8 | 17 || 57
Greencastle-Antrim: 6 | 7 | 10 | 9 || 29
Cardinal O’Hara: Molly Rullo 22, Maggie Doogan 13, Annie Welde 10, Joanie Quinn 9, Sydni Scott 3.
Greencastle-Antrim: Haley Noblit 15, Lauren Pool 6, Meadow Gambacurta 3, Shaina Overcash 3, Mia Libby 2.