It was Katie Poppe's final push.
Holy Trinity changed coaches this year, lost a cadre of seniors and, in the playoffs, a chance at the AA title. But with time ticking down in the Class A semifinal against Bishop Loughlin, Poppe, the senior who this year grew to be the emotional center of a team in transition, took a chance.
After scoring five straight points late in the fourth quarter, Poppe hoisted up the long, possible tying three with 11 seconds left, but the shot fell wide, as the Lions held on to win, 64-59, Friday night in the state CHSAA Class A semifinal at Spellman.
"This was all so unexpected," Poppe said of the Titans playoff run. "We lost all those players and you don't expect to come this far. It just sucks that we couldn't win."
The Titans (19-9) trailed 47-38 going into the fourth quarter but drew to within six behind Alyson Brennan's three-point play, her layup and Poppe's layup with 5:44 to go. Kelly Carey's three from the left wing later drew Holy Trinity to within five and ignited an 8-2 Titans run. Five of those points came from Poppe, whose pullup jumper with 1:48 left made it 59-54. One minute later, Poppe converted a midcourt steal for the layup and foul, cutting the deficit to two.
Loughlin's Aliya Alston missed the first half of a one-and-one with 35 seconds left, but the Titans sent the ball careening out of bounds on the rebound. Imani Tate scored on a fadeaway on the subsequent inbounds pass, giving the Lions a 61-57 lead. Poppe (17 points) hit two free throws with 24 seconds left, but three more Lions foul shots and the missed three sealed the game.
"In the first half, my shots weren't really falling," said Carey, who finished with 18 points and scored three of her four threes in the second half "But we worked it out . . . we made the game close and this is a tough loss, especially for our seniors."
"We knew she was a streaky shooter," Titans coach John Scalfaro said of Ayana Ratliff. "We were hoping that she wasn't going to make those shots and she did. They're a much quicker team, so we had to stay in tighter, and that opened [the perimeter] up."
Trinity held Ratliff to two points in the fourth quarter and "we were trying to get over that final hump," Poppe said. "We just weren't able to do it all the way."