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Trio of O'Hara alums bringing some Delco to March Madness

03/21/2024, 11:30am EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

Amaris Baker, Maggie Doogan and Sydni Scott won a state title with Cardinal O’Hara three years ago.

Now they’re all champions again — separately this time, but still together.

Amaris Baker (above) led Drexel to the 2024 CAA championship. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

The three Cardinal O’Hara alumni are all going to the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament this year, their three college programs all winning conference championships to make it to March Madness for the first time in their respective careers.

“It’s surreal,” said Baker, who graduated from O’Hara in 2021, a year ahead of Doogan and Scott. “I was very very happy seeing all the Instagram stories throughout my whole feed, seeing Maggie win and seeing Syd win [...] I’m so happy for them, it’s been a whole bunch of hard work and dedication, especially how young we were, and now we’re champions, I’m so proud of them.”

Doogan, whose Richmond squad is 29-5 and receiving votes in the latest Associated Press poll, got things started when she led the Spiders to a 65-51 win over Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 championship game on March 10. The 6-foot-2 forward and All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection scored 18 points in the championship game, with seven rebounds and three assists.

Scott followed her up a day later, playing 26 minutes in Marshall’s 95-92 overtime win over James Madison, contributing six points, five rebounds and three steals to a wild, back-and-forth contest.

Baker completed the trifecta on Sunday, when she led Drexel to a 68-60 win over top-seeded Stony Brook in the Coastal Athletic Association championship game, scoring 19 points while going 4-of-5 from downtown. She's not the only O'Hara connection in the program; former O'Hara and Drexel standout Hannah Nihill is on the coaching staff.

“It's really amazing,” said O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan, Maggie’s mother. “All of them had huge roles in their league championships […] It's just really rewarding, they're so happy.”

Chrissie provided some extra motivation for all three, texting each the video to Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment,” featuring Christina Aguilera, on the morning of their championship games. 

It’s the first year all three have been on Division I rosters together. Baker, who played 28 games at Kennesaw State two years ago, spent last season starring at Harcum College before continuing her college career at Drexel; Maggie Doogan and Scott made it back-to-back PIAA state titles as seniors in 2022 before heading off to their respective colleges. 

Maggie Doogan (above) and Richmond are are No. 10 seed in this year's tournament. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Doogan’s proven herself one of the best underclassmen in the A-10,  already within 200 points of 1,000 for her career, on track to finish high up on the Spiders’ career leaderboards in a number of categories. Scott has been a valuable part of the Thundering Herd in both of her seasons, even as Marshall went through a coaching change; she upped her scoring from 5.6 ppg as a freshman to 8.0 as a sophomore, starting 15 of her team’s 32 games thus far.

Baker put together a successful first year at Drexel, averaging 11.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 1.5 apg while starting 32 of 33 games. The 5-7 guard was especially strong down the stretch, averaging 17.1 ppg while hitting 46.7% of her 3-pointers (53.4% overall) during her team’s last 11 games, hitting double figures each time. 

“That’s just what Amaris does, I’ve been watching her do it since I was a sophomore,” Maggie Doogan said. “She works so hard, she deserved a lot of it.”

Baker and Drexel, whose run to the CAA championship for the second time in four years came as the No. 7 seed, will be a significant underdog, the No. 16 seeded Dragons going down to play at the University of Texas. Marshall, the No. 13 seed on the backs of a 26-6 season, is in Blacksburg (Va.) taking on Virginia Tech as it breaks a 27-year drought from the NCAA Tournament. 

Richmond, in the tournament for the first time since 2005, is a No. 10 seed, playing No. 7 Duke on a neutral court at Ohio State. If the Spiders win, it would be the first such victory in program history.

Thanks to their high school years, all three are used to winning this time of year. The Lions not only won their first two state titles in 2021 and 2022, they also won the Catholic League championship in 2022 after making it to the Palestra the year before. 

All three agreed that finding success in the postseason as high schoolers helped prepare them for winning this time of year in college. 

“I won my PCL championship my senior year as well, so I have three nets that I have from O’Hara,” she said. “It’s a good experience for me to have for now because you get to cut down nets and perform on big stages.”

While the O’Hara alums are finding success in college, their former program isn’t doing so poorly either. The Lions took down Parkland High in Monday night’s PIAA Class 6A state semifinals, giving them the chance to win their third title — and first at the 6A level — in the last four years. 

“I've already got texts from them saying 'congrats, go win it,’” Chrissie Doogan said. 

Scott, Doogan and Baker won’t be able to watch each other’s games on Friday. Richmond tips off at 2:30 p.m., Drexel at 3 o’clock, Marshall at 3:30. Chrissie Doogan and her current Lions squad will be on the road for most of that, their own tipoff at 6 p.m. at the GIANT Center against Spring-Ford. .

“I know all three of us are pretty excited; I know I am, for sure,” Scott said. “It could be a big moment for all three of us.”

And if things go well that night, an extra-special one for O’Hara.

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