Hoop Highlights from our Lady Rays PCAC Semifinal Game


Travis Barry

Lady Rays at their PCAC semifinal game

Kathryn Barry, Sports Editor

Our Lady Rays traveled out to Ave Maria Tuesday evening to face off against the Shamrocks of Donahue Academy.  Our Rays split wins with the Shamrocks this season, but the Shamrocks claimed home court advantage because they had been victorious over Everglades City in one of their match ups earlier in the season.  The Everglades City Gators have claimed the overall home court advantage for the PCAC Tournament, by beating our Lady Rays in both conference matchups.


So, the odds were against our Rays.  We had beat Donahue early in the season, but it was at our gym, and they took us to double overtime.  The second time we met was just 12 days ago and they beat us handily at their house.  In that game our Rays did suffer a crucial blow when we lost Cadence Snover in a game ending collision.  With Cadence back now, the stage was set for a battle.


The Rays could not get things going at the start and quickly fell behind 9 to 2.  The rest of the first quarter was a high-speed back and forth which ended with the Shamrocks leading 10 to 8.  The second quarter brought a big shift for the Rays.  Coach Travis Barry again noticed something mature in our Rays.  He said, “Once again, just like last game I felt a calm, cool, and connected vibe among our ladies.  Only this time it didn’t take until the fourth quarter.  They are learning that if they play hard and stay calm, they can overcome any adversity.  They are really starting to play together.”


The Rays did stick together in the second quarter, and it paid off on both ends of the court.  Defensively, Jocelyn Snover and Kathryn Barry focused on the Shamrock’s two top scorers while Cadence Snover, Payton Rice, and Michelle Armas protected the paint.  Our ladies got very strong contributions from the bench by Katelin Reisinger, Ava Tobiason, Piper Noyes, and Emily Reisinger who each brought strong defense and rebounding.  Unfortunately, Astrid Fosso was sidelined due to an injury and had to just give moral support. The Rays held the Shamrocks to just 6 points in the period and took the lead 21 to 16.


Our Rays gave back a little in the 3rd quarter but still held a 4-point lead at the end of the period.  Once again, the 4th quarter turned into a defensive and rebounding battle.  The Shamrocks closed the lead to within 1 point, but then Jocelyn Snover found Payton Rice under the basket for a beautiful assist and a 3-point lead.  The Shamrocks came right back and closed the lead to 1 point again, but then Kathryn Barry hit 2 free-throws to put us back up by 3.


The Shamrocks were forced to foul Michelle Armas with 4 seconds on the clock.  When the front end of Michelle’s free-throw came off the rim, Payton Rice outrebounded 4 Shamrock players and then stalled out the remaining time.  MIA fan Pat O’Keefe commented, “That was a barn burner.  The team really stuck together and pulled out a great win.”  The final score was 40-38 in favor of the Lady Rays.


The Rays will face the Everglades City Gators in the PCAC Championship this Thursday night in Everglades City.  Our Rays are the defending champs from last year, but Everglades has the home court advantage and is favored to win.  They have three strong senior veteran players who have gotten the better of the Rays so far this season.