ORWIGSBURG - Tamaqua had momentum and a five-point lead with just under four minutes left in the game. The Lady Raiders just needed to make a basket or two down the stretch to hold off Notre Dame (Green Pond) in Tuesday's District 11 Class AA semifinal.
But the Crusaders came up with a couple quick buckets to tie the game and Tamaqua went cold, missing its last eight shots and losing 38-34. Notre Dame advances to face Pine Grove in Friday night's title game at a site and time to be announced.
"You've got to credit Notre Dame," said Lady Raider head coach Joe Berezwick. "They hit some big shots at the right times. It was a game of runs. They started out by making that run and then, unfortunately, they had the run at the end to win."
Tamaqua had its biggest lead of the game, 32-27, after an Amanda Solt basket with 3:42 left.
Notre Dame tied it when Shannon Moran hit a pair free throws and then a three-pointer with 3:01 left. Lexi McGivern put her team ahead with a basket, but missed a three-point play opportunity as her team still led 34-32 with 1:21 left.
Tamaqua, which missed at least one shot on each of its last seven possessions, saw the Crusaders build their lead to 37-32 on Moran free throws.
Maria Streisel hit a pair of free throws with four seconds left to cut the lead to 37-34.
McGivern, who scored a game-high 17 points while dishing out five assists, sank one of two free throws to seal the win. The senior hit two three-pointers in the first quarter and dished out four assists in the second half. Her assist led to Moran's game-tying three-pointer.
"Lexi just has the heart of a lion," said Notre Dame head coach Josh Kopp. "She never stops playing. She's the most competitive kid we've had here in the last nine years. She just hates to lose."
Tamaqua, which averages 47 points per game, had leading scorer Christine Streisel (16.1 points per game) held to just four points on 2-for-16 shooting.
"I credit Shannon Moran," said Kopp. "She was on her most of the time. Our help defense was tremendous. We knew at playoff time our defense was going to carry us to victory. It did tonight."
Notre Dame, the No. 2 seed, started the game with a 10-3 run that included a pair of McGivern three-pointers.
The Raiders battled back and gained their first lead when Solt made two straight baskets, both assisted by Maria Streisel, for an 11-10 lead.
Tamaqua trailed by three early in the fourth quarter, but a 6-0 run to start the period gave the Raiders the lead.
Notre Dame (19-5) responded, going back ahead by a point before Solt scored five straight to earn her team's first five-point lead of the game.
Tamaqua, the No. 3 seed, ends its season at 17-7 overall after making its 14th appearance in districts in the past 15 years.
"I'm certainly disappointed in the loss," said Berezwick. "But when I look in the rearview mirror now I'm really pleased. Seeing how we started in November and how we ended here, we were right there. It wasn't for our kids not trying. They played a great game. I'm really happy with the season."
The Raiders had won nine of their last 10 games heading into the semifinal. Five seniors graduate, including the team's top three scorers in both Streisel sisters and Solt.
"I just want to genuinely say how lucky I feel to be around these kids," said Berezwick. "We've got five seniors who are leaving the team. I'm in a better place for having coached those kids. They're going to be missed."
Demetriades 2-0-0-4, Kabilko 0-1-2-1, M. Streisel 3-8-8-14, C. Streisel 2-0-0-4, V. Solt 0-0-0-0, Valasek 0-0-0-0, A. Solt 5-1-2-11. TOTALS: 12-10-12-34.
NOTRE DAME (GP)
McGivern 6-3-5-17, Romich 0-0-0-0, S. Cabone 1-0-0-2, Altmire 0-2-4-2, Moran 2-6-9-11, Gorman 0-0-0-0, L. Cabone 0-0-0-0, McMullan 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 12-11-18-38.
Tamaqua 5 12 4 13 – 34
Notre Dame 10 7 7 14 – 38
Three-pointers: Tamaqua – None; ND – McGivern 2, Moran 1.