STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Coach Scott Dibble didn't flinch, not even after his Villa Maria Academy Victors nearly squandered all of a 20-point lead.
With Kayla McBride on his side, it turned out there was little to be nervous about even with a PIAA championship on the line in the fourth quarter.
McBride had 29 points and 11 rebounds and Villa Maria fended off a late charge by York Catholic to claim a 52-44 win Friday and a second straight crown in a rematch of last year's girls Class AA title game.
Villa Maria Academy’s Kelly Ek, center, celebrates with her teammates after beating York Catholic High School to win the PIAA Girls AA state championship basketball game in State College, Pa., Friday. Villa Maria Academy won 53-44.
And just like last year, McBride and her teammates left the court with wide grins and gold medals.
''I wasn't nervous at all,'' Dibble said. ''I believe in these kids, I've believed in them since the start of the season. I won't waver.''
Kady Schrann had a team-high 21 points and Brittany Hicks added 13 for the Fighting Irish, which advanced to the title game for the fifth straight year.
York Catholic won the first three times during that impressive stretch before falling to Villa Maria Academy in two eerily similar games.
The Victors (28-2) stormed out to an 18-point lead last season before holding on for a five-point win.
This year, they jumped out to a 22-2 lead in the second quarter before York Catholic (28-4) chipped away again.
''I can't stress how hard that is to do, and you have to have a lot of heart to want to try to come back after that,'' York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. ''I am extremely proud of the girls that they could turn this into a game.''
And the Fighting Irish rebounded in spite of 17 straight points from McBride, whose dominating play turned the Victors into a one-woman gang at times.
Schrann's 3 with 7:25 left got her team within seven. Hicks hit two foul shots, McBride was called for a charge and Schrann followed with a mid-range jumper with 2:30 left to get the Irish with 45-44.
Of course, McBride came through again, hitting four foul shots in the closing minutes to help her team finally seal the win. Whether at the line or talking to reporters, McBride displayed the composure of a pro.
''Being a captain, being a senior, I just did what I had to when I saw my team wasn't hitting shots,'' said McBride, who is headed to Notre Dame. ''I felt like I had to take over, and we pulled out the win.''
McBride and Schrann put on an entertaining show, often matched up against each other on the court.
But the Irish were ultimately done in by a rough start in which they hit just 1 of 9 from the field, while the Victors started 7 of 11.
After falling behind 16-2 after one quarter, Bankos said his York Catholic team hung with the Victors.
''I told the girls there's nothing to be ashamed of. I've never seen an Olympic silver medalist cry, and they got the silver,'' he said. ''It hurts now, but we'll go out and celebrate with pizza tonight.''
PIAA Boys A
Sewickley Academy 43, Reading Central Catholic 35
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Tyler Palmer walked off the court and handed the PIAA championship trophy to one of his teammates under one condition - that he didn't drop it.
Palmer ended his high school career in style, scoring a team-high 15 points in Sewickley Academy's 43-35 win Friday over Reading Central Catholic to take the Class A boys title. ''It definitely is dreamlike,'' Palmer said. ''Last year, I really wanted to get here and it was just a killer not to. It's just a fantastic way to end my senior year.''
Marquis Marshall led Reading (30-2) with 15 points, while Donovan Jack added eight.
Tom Droney added 11 points and five rebounds for the Panthers (27-2) despite coming down with the stomach flu Friday morning. Droney said he got sick four times before tip-off and again at halftime Friday.
PIAA Girls AAAA
Mount Lebanon 70, Archbishop Ryan 43
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Madison Cable waited until the final buzzer sounded to crack a smile.
She stayed calm throughout the girls Class AAAA title game, when Mount Lebanon (29-2) routed Archbishop Ryan, 70-43. She didn't celebrate any one of her 30 points, nine rebounds, six steals or two blocks.
When her teammates ran to center court jumping and screaming after taking a second consecutive PIAA crown, Cable finally smiled and walked around nonchalantly to hug a teammate or two.
''I try not to show too much emotion,'' Cable said. ''Sometimes I get a little excited and do a little jump, but I try not to.''
She was a key contributor from the beginning of Friday night's title tilt, sinking a 3 just five seconds into the game.
Mount Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker said she knew it was going to be a good night from that point.
''When she hit that first 3, I thought, 'Here we go, we're ready,''' Oldaker said of Cable. ''She's just that kind of player.''
Considered underdogs entering the evening, Archbishop Ryan (22-8) stayed close early with outside shooting despite the self-proclaimed career-best performance by Cable.
Jess Koci led the Ragdolls with 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.
PIAA Boys AAA
Neumann-Goretti 65, Chartiers Valley 63
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - What started as a lopsided game turned into a thrilling last-minute win for Neumann-Goretti at the PIAA basketball championships.
Daniel Stewart had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds and had a key putback and two foul shots late to lead the Saints past Chartiers Valley 65-63 Friday night to take the boys Class AAA crown.
The Colts rallied from a 12-point deficit early with a chance to win the game late.
T.J. McConnell's desperation 3 with 1 second left bounced off the rim. Steve Burda lunged for the rebound but time expired and relieved Neumann-Goretti rushed to center court to start celebrating.
McConnell was the best player on the floor with 32 points and 12 rebounds. But his team will have to settle for silver medals in the tournament.