The P.K. Yonge Blue Wave faced off against the Trinity Catholic Celtics for the 3A District 2 Championship on Friday night. The Blue Wave have been 3-0 in their district this season, but anything can happen in the playoffs. Prior to Friday, the teams had seen each other just two months before, resulting in a 10-point Blue Wave win. The rematch made for a gritty and close game, resulting in a Blue Wave win: 51-47.
A Slow Start
Both teams had something to prove, with a tenacious brand of defense being displayed right off the bat, resulting in an absence of an offensive groove for either team. Trinity Catholic controlled the ball during the first quarter and into the second, swinging the ball and limiting forced shots. In contrast, the Blue Wave missed a lot of early shots, trying to counteract the opposition with a fast-paced offense. Not a single easy shot was given up, resulting in a 7-6 first quarter.
Blue Light, Green Light
After a sluggish start, the Celtics gained momentum with their three-point shooting. They continued swinging the ball and creating opportunities beyond the arc. Senior Micaela Gomez of the Celtics rolled out several threes throughout the game, finding openings in the Blue Wave’s full-court press. Despite the momentum, the Blue Wave fought hard: forcing turnovers, jump balls, and playing gritty defense.
Soon enough both teams were firing from deep with success. In the third quarter, Trinity Catholic made 3 straight three-pointers, all of which were answered on the next possession by the Blue Wave. The Celtics held the lead during the middle of the game but weren’t quite able to pull away. Both teams traded off taking the lead, with a total of 5 lead changes in the game.
Late Game Pressure
As time ran out both teams increased the pace. The Blue Wave took the lead with six minutes left in the game. Both teams had bursts of scoring, but the Blue Wave eventually took the lead after three consecutive stops. As they attempted to run out the clock, the Celtics responded with their own defensive pressure. With only three minutes left in the game, the Celtics caused two crucial turnovers to tie the game off of fastbreak layups
Further into the final quarter, Gomez had five points- a three-pointer and a contested floater- trying to close out the game. Despite the push, Ilayzia Wilcox of the Blue Wave hit a contested corner three to take the lead with 1:32 left. Neither team was able to score over the next three possessions until the Blue Wave’s Zion McRae got a last-minute bucket. The team caused another turnover and McRae successfully drew a foul, icing the last five seconds of the game with a free throw.
P.K. Yonge’s stellar defense and shooting paved the way to the District Championship, and they’ll hope to carry the momentum to extend their season.