By Andy Close
For Bradford’s terrific quartet of seniors, a state playoff win wasn’t quite in the cards.
Elizabeth Forward went on a 13-0 third quarter run to break open a close game and capture a 52-30 win in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs Saturday at Pitt-Bradford.
The loss marks the third-straight season the Lady Owls’ run has ended in the first round.
“It’s a special group,” Bradford first-year coach Bob Hannon of Ali Rinfrette, Haley Vinelli, Payton Ambrose and Liz Coppella, who depart with a record 67-7 over the last three seasons. “It’s hard to tell them anything that’s going to take that sting away. I told them to keep their heads up.”
The Warriors went into halftime up seven, 24-17, but Bradford came out immediately in the third quarter and got a steal and subsequent three-pointer from Ali Rinfrette to make it a four-point game.
That’s when EF (21-4) went on it’s run, however, which was capped by a three-pointer from Jessica Palady and an offensive putback from Natalie Fekula.
Fekula, at 6-0 towered over Bradford (22-3), and was able to take advantage of her size with 14 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
“We tried to get the ball inside as much as possible,” said Elizabeth Forward coach Sam Kosanovich. “I thought that was a big part of turning the game around.”
Bradford, conversely, struggled shooting the ball for most of the second half, making just five shots from the floor in the final 16 minutes.
By the time Coppella made Bradford’s second shot of the half over six minutes after Rinfrette’s three, the game was well in hand at 37-22.
The lead grew to as many as 26, 50-26 after an Abigail Sporio jumper late in the fourth quarter. Sporio scored all nine of her points in the second half.
“There were too many things that we needed to do right to be in the game that we didn’t do,” Hannon said. “One of our focuses was we had to shoot the ball well. We didn’t shoot the ball well.”
The first half, by contrast, was tightly contested, with neither team leading by more that four until a 9-2 run by EF to end the half.
Rinfrette, who scored 16 points in her final game in a Bradford uniform, kept Bradford in the game early, scoring seven of the team’s nine first quarter points.
In the second quarter, freshman Bri Wells and junior Marissa Yohe stepped up off the bench, combining for six critical points that kept Bradford within striking distance, including a nifty step-back jumper from Wells.
“I thought Bri Wells played an excellent game, as did Marissa,” Hannon said. “That’s encouraging for next year. Those girls have to realize that those four seniors our gone. Now it’s their team.”
NOTES: Rinfrette finishes her career fourth in school history with 1,216 points … Elizabeth Forward out-rebounded Bradford 34-21, including 13-6 on the offensive end … Rinfrette led the Lady Owls with 6 rebounds, while Wells finished with five … Bradford had 12 turnovers and Elizabeth Forward 8 … The 30 points for Bradford were a season low
ELIZABETH FORWARD 52, BRADFORD 30
Score By Quarters
Elizabeth Forward 13 11 18 10-—52
Bradford 9 8 7 6—30
ELIZABETH FORWARD (21-4)—52
Allison Pastore 1-2-3-4, Abigail Sporio 3-3-4-9, Natatlie Fekula 6-2-2-14, Kylie Owoc 1-0-0-3, Olivia Barkley 6-3-5-15, Jessica Palady 2-0-0-5, Sarah Lavelle 0-0-0-0, Sierra Dawson 1-0-0-2, Lauren Cain 0-0-0-0, Breaonna 0-0-0-0, Totals 20-10-14-52
Ali Rinfrette 7-0-0-16, Rylee Lundgren 0-0-0-0, Liz Coppella 3-0-0-7, Haley Vinelli 0-0-0-0, Payton Ambrose 0-0-0-0, Bri Wells 2-0-0-4, Marissa Yohe 1-0-0-2, Morgan Roggenbaum 0-1-2-1, Raya Hennigan 0-0-0-0, Totals 13-1-2-30
Three-point FGs: Elizabeth Forward (2) —Owoc, Palady ; Bradford (3) — Rinfrette 2, Coppella