Aquinas Academy girls prepping for Rochester

Thursday, February 20, 2020 | 10:56 AM

Aquinas Academy High School Girls’ basketball team will take on No. 1 seed Rochester after a comeback win this week in the first round of the WPIAL Class 1A Girls playoffs.

Mike Burchill, assistant head of school, said 3-pointers sparked the big win for Aquinas when they played No. 8 seed Monessen on Feb. 18.

After finding themselves down 13-0 in the first quarter and 17-3 at the end of the first half, the team scored 19 points to bring the game within one point in the third quarter.

The girls finished the comeback in the fourth, outscoring Monessen 31-13 in the second half, winning the game 34-30 “in what may have been the best comeback in school history,” Burchill said.

Sophomore Emi Kartsonas led the team’s scoring with 13, and her dominating play in the second half along with sophomore Laura Richthammer’s three 3-pointers in the third sparked the comeback, he said.

Superb ball-handling by freshman Bella Hite, a clutch shot off the bench by sophomore Elizabeth Hardy, and a whole team effort on defense made it a game for the ages, Burchill said.

The 3-for-3 foul shooting in the fourth quarter by sophomore Elizabeth Russell sealed the victory for Aquinas.

First-year Aquinas Coach Chris Labakken told the team to “play like you belong here on offense and have confidence and believe in yourselves.”

Aquinas Academy will play next at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 against No. 1 seed Rochester at Sewickley Academy.