A Rachel Siemens 3-pointer capped a 15-0 Providence Academy run and put the McAuley Catholic girls in a 19-7 hole to start the second quarter.

From there, McAuley simply refused to die. And it nearly paid off with the Warriors’ largest comeback win of the season.

But after McAuley clawed its way back to take a four-point lead with less than two minutes remaining, the Patriots responded with one final surge to claim a 61-57 win in a de facto semifinal of the Mercy Warrior Classic on Friday night at McAuley Catholic High School.

Providence outscored McAuley 11-3 in the final 1:25 to punch its ticket to tonight’s championship game against College Heights Christian, which picked up a 67-22 victory over Sheldon in its final pool game on Friday.

“This was a fun game to be a part of, but you obviously wish you could have won it at the end,” McAuley coach Mike Howard said. “I give all the credit in the world to Providence. That’s a really good squad that’s capable of beating any given team on any night. So for us to come out, compete and give ourselves a chance there at the end, that says a lot about my team’s character and heart.”

The Warriors (14-6) took their first lead since the early stages of the first quarter when Kennedy DeRuy made a pair of free throws to give McAuley a 51-49 advantage with three minutes remaining. A little more than a minute later, Taylor Schiefelbein handled a pass in the corner and swished a triple to push McAuley’s lead to 54-50.

But then Providence, which struggled to find a shooting rhythm for much of the second half, started to catch fire at the opportune time. A Julieth Morales 3, a Michell Butler layup and then a Hannah Wiechman and-1 conversion put the Patriots back on top, 58-54, with 46 seconds showing on the game clock.

A late triple by Kayleigh Teeter cut the Providence lead to one and gave McAuley life temporarily, but the Patriots ultimately put the game out of reach with three unanswered free throws in the game’s waning seconds.

After falling in a 12-point hole, McAuley outscored Providence in each of the final three quarters.

“The big thing was we had to make a few adjustments on (Butler), because she was getting almost anything she wanted in the first quarter and for most of the first half,” Howard said. “Couple that with the fact that we started moving the ball and making open shots, and we found ourselves in a good spot late in the game.”

Butler finished with a game-high 24 points but was limited to five points in the second half.

The McAuley scoring was led by Teeter, who had four makes from beyond the arc and totaled 23 points. DeRuy and Schiefelbein also scored in double figures with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

The Warriors play Sheldon in the girls third-place game today at 1 p.m.

CHC GIRLS 67, SHELDON 22

College Heights standout Emmy Colin poured in a game-high 27 points as the Cougars cruised to a decisive 45-point win over Sheldon.

The Cougars (19-1) scored the first 13 points of the game and held a 25-6 lead by the start of the second quarter and a 43-9 lead by halftime.

CHC accounted for 12 3-pointers with Colin making seven, Klohe Burk four and Kaynahan Burk one.

“Our guard play has been sensational this year,” CHC coach John Blankenship said. “Klohe Burk, a freshman guard, she’s really stepped up and started knocking down some 3-point shots for us. We’ve been a lot more consistent in the second half of the season. When Grace Bishop went down injured, we needed a couple people to step up for us. And they’ve done that for us.”

Sheldon was limited to no more than seven points in each quarter.

“I think our defense plays a big part in allowing us to get out into our transition game,” Blankenship said. “Tonight our defense allowed us to get out to a good start a and good lead so we could do some more subbing and keep our legs fresh.”

Providence Academy spoils McAuley Catholic’s comeback at Mercy Warrior Classic

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