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Cardinal O’Hara Holiday Showcase Roundup (Dec. 29, 2023)

12/29/2023, 9:00pm EST
By CoBL Staff

By CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

BROOMALL — The two-day Cardinal O’Hara Holiday Showcase concluded Friday with a quarter of games in Delaware County. The annual event featured the host Lions and seven other area squads in an exciting slate of games. CoBL was there for all four games. Here’s who stood at the event:

Upper Dublin 58, Villa Maria 54
The Cardinals tried just about everything in the second half, but they couldn’t quite seem to give away their unbeaten start to the season.

After a shockingly fast start and a pretty decent first half overall, Upper Dublin checked off about every box on the list of ways to give away possessions in the fourth quarter. A big shot by senior Nora Brady and some clutch free throw shooting by sophomore Megan Ngo plus the fact high school quarters are only eight minutes was enough to slip UD to 10-0.

Upper Dublin's Nora Brady shoots against Villa Maria. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

“We haven’t played a lot of close games, our close win over Scranton Prep, we were down most of the time,” Cardinals coach Morgan Funsten said. “A lot of it’s on me to get it started in practice. There are a lot of other areas we have to work on but there’s nothing like a real game situation and we need to clean up our end of game situations.”

Megan Ngo paced UD with 16 points, adding seven assists and four steals, Amy Ngo had 13 points and Brady tagged in with 11.

Upper Dublin forced a turnover on the opening possession and scored, then did it two more times and led 7-0 about 45 seconds into the game. Villa Maria Academy made one shot in the first quarter and trailed 19-7 after the first eight minutes.

The Cardinals took a 36-23 lead to halftime and when freshman Tamia Clark scored on a putback to start the third, it didn’t look great for the Hurricanes. Instead, led by sophomore Sophia Tray, VMA went category five in the third quarter by holding UD without a field goal the rest of the frame, whittling the lead as close as four and putting a lot of pressure on the Cardinals to finish the game out.

“I think this type of game, as frustrating as it was to be in from a coaching perspective, I think it definitely is going to make us better if we let it make us better,” Funsten said. “I’m hoping the leadership on this team gets the message across to the rest of the team that is the type of game we really need to learn from.”

Tray was outstanding for the Hurricanes, scoring 14 of her 20 points in the second half while adding eight rebounds, four assists and an infectious energy of just playing hard and aggressive that got VMA back in it. Senior Carly Catania had 15 points, adding four assists and Emma O’Hare finished with 10 for the Hurricanes.

After Tray hit a three off a Catania assist to cut the lead to 47-41 with 3:36 left in the fourth, UD answered. Megan Ngo found Brady in the left corner, the senior draining the catch-and-shoot three for a 50-41 lead.

In most cases, that would have been the game.

“Nora Brady’s three was the shot of the game and it should have ended the game,” Funsten said. “We made enough mistakes defensively after that where it didn’t.”

VMA again got within four but Megan and Amy Ngo went a combined 8-of-8 at the foul line, Megan hitting 12-of-13 in the game to keep the levee intact against the Hurricanes.

“There’s a lot of positives to take out of it, but defensively and with decision making in some areas down the stretch, we have to clean it up.”

By Quarter:
Upper Dublin: 19 | 17 | 6 | 16 || 58
Villa Maria Academy 7 | 16 | 13 | 18 || 54

UPPER DUBLIN: Megan Ngo 16, Amy Ngo 13, Nora Brady 11, Tamia Clark 8, Bridget DiMartile 7, Kaitlyn Zacharia 3

VILLA MARIA ACADEMY: Sophia Tray 20, Carly Catania 15, Emma O’Hare 10, Liz Sharp 3, Mackenzie Liberatore 2, Abby Ferry 2, Sierra Dean 2


Springfield (Delco.) 50, Souderton 29
Springfield senior Cora Fattori was hot from the start, and with a little help from her teammates the Cougars pulled away in the second half to break a three-game skid.

Fattori finished with a game-high 27 points, scoring the first 14 points for her team. Fattori did most of her damage in the midrange and at the rim with a 3-point make mixed in. 

She had 16 by halftime as the Cougars led 18-14. Yes, she felt good warming up but that kind of red-hot start...

Springfield's Molly Clifford dribbles the ball up against Souderton. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

“I didn’t think it was going to come out like that, but it just happened to,” Fattori said.

Springfield started the second half on a 17-2 run to take control of the game. Fattori picked up where she left off in the third quarter, adding 11 more points. However,  Molly Clifford, Grace Ellis, Corinne Guyton-Williams and Lilianna DiTrolio all added buckets as well to help Springfield pull away.

“I think that’s when their confidence started to go up,” Fattori said. “This year, it’s been hard to get their confidence to go up but it kicks in at random times in the game.”

“Honestly, we just started to play basketball, and that’s been really hard for us lately because we’re just in our heads all the time,” she added. “And we just need to play basketball and that’s what we did.”

Junior Emily Dick led Souderton (1-8) with nine points. Senior Brooke Fenchel, a Messiah College recruit, added five points and four blocks. The grind of a game kept Souderton in it early one before Springfield opened things up in the second half.

By Quarter:
Springfield: 12 | 6 | 19 |13 || 50
Souderton: 9 | 5 | 7 | 8 || 29

SPRINGFIELD: Cora Fattori 27, Molly Clifford 7, Alyssa Estep 6, Grace Ellis 2, Corinne Guyton-Williams 2, Kylee O’Donnell 2, Lilianna DiTrolio 2, Macy Gougler 2.

SOUDERTON: Emily Dick 9, Brooke Fenchel 5, Julia Purvy 5, Olivia Herron 4, Kiera Fadden 4, Jacquelyn Bermel 2.


Audenried 67, Archbishop Carroll 55

Bill Wright is one of the area’s biggest high school girls’ basketball fans, former O’Hara standout Kristen Clement getting him into the girls’ side in the mid-1990s. So after watching Shayla Smith do what she did to Archbishop Carroll, Wright’s words carried some extra weight.

“That’s the best performance I’ve seen in quite some time,” Wright said after watching Smith put on a show to lead Audenried to a 67-55 win over Archbishop Carroll. 

The Rockets’ star junior scored 27 of her game-high 37 points in the second half as the defending Public League champs picked up a big-time win over one of the best in the Catholic League. The 5-foot-9 guard shot 14-of-23 from the floor (5-8 3PT, 4-4 FT), completing a double-double with 10 rebounds. 

Audenried's Shayla Smith scored 37 points in a win over Carroll. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

It was a wild, back-and-forth affair that saw Carroll score the game’s first six points before Audenried responded with 19 straight, leading into the third quarter. The Patriots climbed back on top, getting a 37-31 lead near the end of the third, but then Smith took over. 

Smith was getting everything she wanted — deep catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, Eurostep layups, pull-up mid-range jumpers, a couple 3-point plays as she absorbed contact around the rim. Audenried was back on top by the end of the third quarter, Smith with 14 in the frame; she slammed the door shut in the fourth, adding 13 more, missing just three shots all half.

“I’m not going to lie, sometimes I yell at her about some of the shots she takes because I think she takes bad shots sometimes,” Audenried coach Kevin Slaughter said. “But when she’s in a rhythm like that, you’ve got to accept it.

“Today, once we came out in that third quarter and she hit that wide-open 3, her body language was different. Her dribble was different, everything she was doing was in a positive manner. I said ‘nah, she’s got it going.’”

Whats going through her head when she’s playing like that?

“Nothing,” she said. “My mind’s blank — that’s when I play the best, when I’m not thinking about everything. [It] just happens sometimes. I’m working on trying to do it intentionally, but when it happens, it just happens.”

Sophomore guard Heaven Reese added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Audenried, which is playing without freshman forward Nasiaah Russell due to a knee injury the talented youngster suffered last week. Archbishop Carroll got 21 points from sophomore Alexis Eberz but was just 5-of-20 from 3-point range and committed too many turnovers.

Slaughter called the win the “biggest” of his career outside of the Public League championship, for one sole reason: validation.

“Today we proved we can play with some of the bigger schools in the area,” he said.

By Quarter
Audenried: 16  |   7   |  18  |  26  ||  65
Carroll:        6   |  11  |  21  |  17  ||  55

Audenried: 23-51 FG (7-16 3PT), 14-19 FT
Carroll: 21-54 FG (5-20 3PT), 8-13 FT

Audenried: Shayla Smith 37, Heaven Reese 10, Aniyah Howard 8, Senaya Parker 5, Leashia Chance 5, Rahkia Bundy 2

Carroll: Alexis Eberz 21, Abigail McFillin 11, Brooke Wilson 9, Bridget Archibald 5, Felicity McFillin 4, Olivia Nardi 3, Brooke Olender 2


Cardinal O’Hara 42, Germantown Academy 37
Brigidanne Donohue has the support of everyone on the Cardinal O’Hara bench, especially the player she’s replacing in the Lions’ starting lineup.

In just her second game starting at point guard, the freshman more than rose to the moment against Germantown Academy. Donohue scored 10 of her 13 points, including back-to-back-to-back three point makes, in the fourth quarter as O’Hara turned the tables on the Patriots to reach 10-0 on the season.

“Shooter’s gotta shoot,” O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan said. “She missed her first couple then nailed her last three. She’s a confident kid, I’ve seen her play since she was in fifth or sixth grade and nothing fazes her.”

Cardinal O'Hara's Brigidanne Donohue shoots a three against Germantown Academy. (Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Donohue missed her first four shots against GA, then finally got one off a pass from Megan Rullo in the third quarter to go for a three. She missed her next look to start the fourth quarter but was clearly saving the best for last, or more accurately, when her team most needed it.

In a low-foul, well-played game from both sides, every score seemed to hold a little extra weight so when Gabby Bowes connected on a three to give GA a 31-28 lead with 6:26 left, it felt significant. When roughly three minutes of game clock came off before either team scored again, it started to feel even more significant.

That was until Rullo, only after saving a deflected pass, found Donohue in the corner for the tying three.

“It’s the same face, you’d never know if anything’s bothering her,” Doogan said. “For her to step in and have that confidence was awesome.”

O’Hara got a stop, then Rullo found Donohue again. This time, the freshman popped free to the wing off a screen on a baseline inbound but the result was the same with a three catching all net and a lead.

Rinse and repeat one more time, this time with Molly Rullo giving up the assist as Donohue slipped free of the Patriots defense to nail a straightaway trey for a 37-31 lead with 2:50 to go.

With O’Hara senior Joanie Quinn out for a bit with her right hand in a cast, the team captain made sure her replacement in the starting lineup wouldn’t waver.

“Joanie just said to her ‘you’re ready, this is your time’” Doogan said. “I think it was fun for everybody, the crowd, her family was here, to kind of see her have that moment.”

As it turned out, Cardinal O’Hara needed all nine of those points. GA cut the lead back to two, 37-35, with 2:01 to play forcing the Lions to lean on their disruptive defense to close it out.

GA’s Isabella Casey gave O’Hara some trouble for three quarters, but the senior standout didn’t get her first and only score of the fourth until there were 13 seconds left and O’Hara led by six.

Megan Rullo, who finished with nine points and six assists, had two crucial fourth quarter rebounds while Molly Rullo, who tied for the team lead with 13 points, had two of her three steals in the final frame.

“The refs were letting us play and that’s what it came down to,” Doogan said. “I told the girls you get into them a little bit and be a little more physical. It was a good game, they have a lot of seniors, we have a lot of seniors, so it was a good way to test the maturity of the team.”

Casey finished with 18 to lead all scorers, plus nine rebounds, while Bowes chipped in nine for GA.

Doogan was complimentary of Molly Rullo’s efforts, beyond the junior’s scoring, noting how she also played through some physical defending by GA and still managed to be very disruptive on the defensive end. Senior Carly Coleman was the only other O’Hara player to score, netting seven points, but that didn’t detract from the rest of the roster’s contributions.

“It’s by committee,” Doogan said. “When Joanie went down, we talked that it could be anybody on any given night and that’s how we’re going to look at it. We have capable players and we’re going to hang our hat on defense and rebounding.”

By Quarter
Cardinal O’Hara: 10 | 9 | 9 | 14 || 42
Germantown Academy 10 | 8 | 8 | 11 || 37


Cardinal O’Hara: Molly Rullo 13, Brigidanne Donohue 13, Megan Rullo 9, Carly Coleman 7

Germantown Academy: Isabella Casey 18, Gabby Bowes 9, Jess Kolecki 6, Jess Aponik 2, Jenna Aponik 2


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