NVL GIRLS SEMIFINAL: St. Paul avenges last season’s loss to Kennedy

St. Paul senior Brigid Johndrow puts in two of her 11 points in her team’s 44-38 NVL semifinal win over Kennedy.

It was a big evening at the Jack Taglia Gymnasium at Kennedy High School.
This year’s NVL Tournament semifinals featured plenty of familiarity. In the first game, second-seeded St. Paul took on No. 6 Kennedy in a rematch of last year’s semifinal.
The Falcons beat the Eagles 44-38 to reach the final for the first time since 2014.
St. Paul will face top-seeded Holy Cross, a 59-48 winner over No. 4 Torrington, in the final on Wednesday night at Kennedy.

St. Paul freshman Jade Udoh (24) led her team with 14 points.

In a game where both sides struggled to find their offenses, the Falcons had just enough to edge out the Eagles on their home floor. Freshman Jade Udoh was big inside for St. Paul and led the way with 14 points. Senior Brigid Johndrow struggled at points, but ended up with 11 points, including some key baskets. The Falcons got four points each from senior Lexi Morneault, senior Alexandria Mourges and junior Molly Hooks.
Two free throws from Udoh gave St. Paul its biggest lead of the first half, 18-10 with 5:17 left in the first half. From there, Kennedy closed the gap behind senior Joyce Benton. Benton scored the last six Eagle points of the half and put her team ahead 21-19 with free throws late in the half.
Johndrow responded with the first of her big baskets, a coast-to-coast layup to tie the game at 21 at the half.
The teams slogged through a 10-3 St. Paul third quarter, which put the No. 2 seed ahead 31-24 with eight minutes to go. Johndrow had six of her points in the third quarter. Morneault had a basket to open the quarter, then Udoh scored off an offensive rebound after the Falcons had a bevy of chances.
Kennedy sophomore Shyan Perez went for 3 to make the score 31-27 early in the fourth quarter, and the Eagles later closed to 33-31 on a Benton bucket. It was the closest Kennedy got.
Hooks scored, then Johndrow and Udoh worked a sweet give-and-go off an inbound pass to put St. Paul up 37-32. Udoh then received a pass from Johndrow and scored to make it 39-34. 
Benton made the score 40-36 on two foul shots, then senior Raegon Shirling-Davis converted an offensive rebound with 18.2 to go to make it 42-38.
Johndrow and senior Amelia Sanchez converted foul shots in the final 15 seconds for the winning margin.
Benton led Kennedy with 18 points. Perez had six points while Shirling-Davis and sophomore Hannah West tallied five points each. Junior Yakira Edwards rounded out the scoring with four points.