Girls basketball: PJP vs. Archbishop Wood state playoff preview

GIRLS BASKETBALL
PIAA Class AAA Playoffs - Opening Round
1-3 POPE JOHN PAUL II (18-6) vs. 12-2 ARCHBISHOP WOOD (17-9)
Saturday, 5 p.m.
At Archbishop Carroll, Radnor

How Pope John Paul II got here: The Golden Panthers earned the first PIAA berth in the program’s history by knocking off Lower Moreland 44-30 Saturday, clinching the third and final District 1 seed as Taylor Bearden led a balanced effort with 12 points. PJP overcame a 12-7 first-quarter deficit in the win.

How Archbishop Wood got here: The Vikings absorbed a 47-41 loss to Prep Charter last weekend in the District 12 championship game

Inside look at PJP

► Captured the PAC-10 Frontier Division title with a 10-3 regular season mark to advance to Final Four, where it suffered a 58-49 loss to Methacton in the semifinals

► Bracketed a 56-39 romp over Chichester and the crucial triumph over Lower Moreland around a 47-35 loss to Merion Mercy in the district semifinals

► PJP, which averages 49.6 points and allows 40.8, is 8-2 over its last 10

Inside look at Wood

  Enters the state tournament as the three-time defending PIAA champion (2010, 2011, 2012) in the Class AAA bracket

► Prior to the district final loss, Wood dropped a 31-25 decision to Cardinal O’Hara in the Philadelphia Catholic League championship clash

► The defense-oriented Vikings allow just 35 points while scoring 46 per game. Wood is 7-3 over its last 10 and is currently on a 2-game losing streak

Players to watch

PJP: 5-7 senior guard Haley Mesaros (9.1 ppg, 21 treys), 5-8 junior forward Ellen Chernaskey (9.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg), 5-8 senior guard/forward Taylor Bearden (9.3 ppg, 29 treys), 5-4 sophomore point guard Lauren Dao (5.5 ppg, 3.1 apg, 45 steals), 5-10 sophomore forward Jenna Widdecombe (5.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg), 5-11 junior forward Kelly Moore (4.7 rpg, 45 blocks) 

Wood: 6-1 sophomore forward Aubree Brown (2nd team All-PCL), 5-4 senior guard Jackie Pierson (2nd team All-PCL), 5-8 senior guard Colleen Young (3rd team All-PCL), 5-8 junior guard Jess Kaminski (honorable mention All-PCL), 5-10 senior forward Haley Scullion (honorable mention All-PCL), 5-7 senior guard Maddie Tamburini (honorable mention All-PCL).

Winner gets: 3-2 Susquehannock (18-8) or 3-5 Lancaster Catholic (25-1) in the second round Wednesday at an undetermined time and site