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PIAA 6A: Nardi's big shot lifts Carroll past Perk Valley

03/15/2023, 12:30am EDT
By Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)

WHITEMARSH – Biggest shot of her season, crisp pass from Brooke Wilson right into the numbers and plenty of time and space to get a clean look off.

Olivia Nardi had it all the way.

Right, Olivia?

“I was really nervous,” Nardi said. “If it went in, that would be great. If I missed, I knew we’d get the next one.”

Nerves or not, Nardi didn’t show them when she put up a three off Wilson’s kick-out pass as the clock ticked below the 20-second threshold in overtime. All that rode with the ball as it rotated through the air was Archbishop Carroll’s season, the Patriots at the time trailing Perkiomen Valley after spending a lot of energy to even force the extra period.

Olivia Nardi (above, left) and Taylor Wilson helped Carroll to an overtime win over District 1 champs Perk Valley. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Nardi’s shot hit nothing but net and with a stop and free throw later, Carroll had knocked off the District I champion Vikings 41-38 in Tuesday’s PIAA 6A second round game played at Plymouth Whitemarsh.

“It proved to us we aren’t going away, not only in that game but for our season,” Wilson said. “We’re not going away, we didn’t have the best start to our third or fourth quarter but we’re not going away and that’s why we ended up winning.”

The Patriots knew they were in for a big test in more ways than one, with PV and its armada of skilled sophomores having dropped just one game all season. There was also the problem of figuring out what to do with the Vikings’ 6-foot pair of Quinn Boettinger and Grace Galbavy, usually leaving one, if not more, undersized defenders trying to hold their ground.

Carroll’s always going to defend and play tough. Even as PV pumped the ball inside — at one point three defenders tried to pry the ball loose from Boettinger only for the sophomore to fight on and draw a foul — the Patriots did enough on both ends to hang around.

“They play tremendous team defense, they bodied us, they were as physical of a team as we’ve played,” Vikings coach John Russo said. “I told the girls that’s how you’re going to get played for another two years. You have to remember, half of them are 15, they’re battling seniors and juniors, but I thought we fought through it, we got shots we wanted, attacks to the basket.

“It was a good, hard-fought game and they’re a good team.”

As they’ve done much of the season, Brooke and Taylor Wilson carried the bulk of the scoring load for Carroll. While the sisters had plenty of big shots, Brooke hitting the three that forced OT, it was the supporting cast that was the difference.

While Nardi had the big shot in overtime, it was Courtland Schumacher’s corner triple at the start of extra time that put the PCL side up for the first time since the game’s opening possession. Nardi had a another timely three of her own in a third quarter that started slow and finished in a hurry, Alexis Eberz had four points and rebounded strong against PV’s height and Meg Sheridan was her usual ball of energy on defense.

“We won this as a team tonight,” Brooke Wilson said. “The reason we won is because of Olivia’s shot, because of Courtland’s shot, because of Meg’s defense and because of Alexis playing great. That’s the reason we won, we played team basketball, played hard and played together.”

Without Eberz’s two second-quarter baskets, the Patriots would have been in an even bigger hole than the 21-14 deficit they faced at halftime. It took nearly five minutes for either team to even score in the third quarter but Carroll did close strong, Nardi’s first triple cutting the lead to 23-20 before a shot by Brooke Wilson with 5.2 left in the fourth made it a one-point game with eight minutes to play.

Olivia Nardi (above) buries the 3-pointer that lifted Carroll past Perkiomen Valley. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

As optimistic as Carroll’s outlook seemed there, things didn’t look great for the Patriots a few minutes later. Galbavy sank two midrange jumpers, Boettinger got fouled and sank two at the line and a pass by Julia Smith set up Boettinger for another post bucket that gave PV a 31-22 lead with 4:37 to play. Boettinger was terrific, shooting 7-of-9 through a lot of physical play for a game-high 18 points while Galbavy did it all with nine points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals.

“When we push the basketball and we move it from outside to inside, we’re really tough to play and we didn’t do that enough tonight,” Russo said. “Credit to Carroll, they played really good defense and they hit shots at the right time.”

PV’s nine-point lead didn’t last very long as Brooke assisted Taylor then Taylor assisted Brooke for back-to-back scores and following a couple empty possessions, Brooke hit Taylor again to get the deficit back to three. The sisters weren’t done as Taylor, following a split pair of free throws by Galbavy, drained a quick-pull three on the left wing and after Galbavy found Boettinger inside, Brooke buried a side-step three from the right wing to tie the game 34-34 with 10 seconds left.

Both teams had a chance to inbound after, Perk Valley turning the ball over and Archbishop Carroll not getting much of a look to set up overtime.

“It was defensive stops, defense fuels a lot of our offense so when we get defensive stops, it lets us lift each other up,” Brooke Wilson said. “We can say to each other ‘great stop, let’s go score and put the ball in the basket.’ The theme in the locker room at halftime was rebounding, playing hard and playing together.

“They out-played us in the first two quarters, but I think we outplayed them the last two and in overtime.”

Taylor Wilson led Carroll with 15 points, the senior Army recruit shaking off a tough start offensively with seven fourth-quarter points in the Patriots’ rally. Brooke Wilson had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, plus four steals, but it was her passing late in the game that was a difference maker.

The junior not only had the helper on Nardi’s go-ahead trey with 17.3 seconds left, she was somehow able to spot Schumacher open in the opposite corner and wing her a pass out of a post-up for the three that opened the OT scoring with 2:36 left in the added frame.

“I watched them six, seven times and those were kids who hardly even shoot it,” Russo said. “The corner three by (Schumacher) was a dagger and then Nardi’s to give them back the lead after Julia Smith gave us the lead. I don’t know, it was just a good game.”

Perk Valley loses Ella Stein, the senior embracing a role as the first player off the bench all season, but otherwise returns its entire starting lineup and even gets a boost with Grace Miley due back from the knee injury that robbed the wing of her sophomore season. The Vikings’ faces bore the result, a mix of sadness, frustration and disappointment in Tuesday’s outcome that Russo was confident will brew a more determined group that as he noted, has already accomplished a lot for its collective youth.

“We’ve learned a lot,” Russo said. “This is what teams can do to you if you’re not fighting for your spots. They took us out of our spots, played good team defense and made us panic at times.”

After Carroll grabbed that OT lead, Boettinger again drew contact and connected on both looks at the line to pull PV back within one. Neither team could make anything of its next few possessions before Galbavy made a terrific pass to Julia Smith on the baseline, the guard hitting the short jumper with 37.5 seconds to play for a 38-37 edge.

Nardi has been Carroll’s first player off the bench all season, her first as a varsity contributor and she’s found spots to chip in a three here or an assist there. The sophomore hasn’t tried to step outside what her team needs, but on Tuesday, she had exactly what the Patriots needed.

“We do a drill that’s just two minutes of shooting at practice, so that really helps,” Nardi said. “I think it’s just being really consistent with my shot, which comes from practice.”

Carroll took a timeout with 23.3 on the clock and set up one of their mainstay plays with a handoff option for Brooke Wilson to either give up the ball or fake the give then make a decision herself.

She made the right choice and because of it, Carroll’s in the state quarterfinals with a Friday draw against Abington.

“In the huddle, they said if you see the lane Brooke, take the lane but I saw Quinn was in there so I wasn’t going to take that shot,” Wilson said. “I knew Liv was spotting on the three. I thought, ‘Liv, you got it,’ and I knew right when it came off her hands that she was going to make it.”

By Quarter

ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 9 | 5 | 8 | 12 | 7 || 41

PERKIOMEN VALLEY 12 | 9 | 2 | 11 | 4 || 38


AC: Taylor Wilson 15, Brooke Wilson 13, Olivia Nardi 6, Alexis Eberz 4, Cortland Schumacher 3

PV: Quinn Boettinger 18, Grace Galbavy 9, Bella Bacani 5, Julia Smith 4, Lena Stein 2.


Girls 6A
(3-1) Cedar Cliff 39, (1-6) Upper Dublin 26
(7-2) Upper St. Clair 42, (1-4) Pennsbury 31
(1-9) Abington 40, (1-8) Springfield-Delco 35
(12-1) Cardinal O’Hara 42, (1-3) Spring-Ford 39
(12-3) Archbishop Carroll 41, (1-1) Perkiomen Valley 38 (OT)

Boys 5A
(1-1) Radnor 75, (12-3) West Philadelphia 61
(12-2) Archbishop Ryan 59, (1-5) West Chester East 46
(12-1) Imhotep Charter 68, (3-5) Muhlenberg 32

Boys 4A
(3-5) Eastern York 75, (12-2) Overbrook 54
(11-1) Allentown Central Catholic 49, (12-3) Cardinal O’Hara 46
(12-1) Neumann-Goretti 74, (11-2) Bethlehem Catholic 49

Girls 3A
(4-1) Mt. Carmel Area 48, (12-2) West Catholic 38
(3-1) Lancaster Catholic 64, (1-1) New Hope-Solebury 54

Girls 2A
(1-1) Faith Christian 35, (4-1) South Williamsport 28
(1-2) Sacred Heart Acad. 42, (4-2) Line Mountain 40

Boys 1A
(1-1) Chester Charter 56, (4-2) Northumberland Christian 38
(3-1) Linville Hill 50, (12-1) City School 42
(1-2) Phil-Mont Christian 57, (3-5) Mount Calvary Christian 46

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