Typically you can go pretty deep into St. Michael the Archangel’s senior-laden girls’ basketball roster to find a proven scorer before you get to Celia Crifasi.
On a night when the lead in the District 6-4A race was up for grabs, Crifasi enabled the Warriors to secure top billing.
Crifasi came off the bench to score 10 points, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, to spark No. 2 St. Michael on a late run Friday and help the Warriors pull away from No. 9 Broadmoor 54-44 at St. Michael.
“We always talk about when someone else goes down then someone has to step in and pick up the slack, and she did that,” St. Michael coach Tami Reynolds-McClure.
Crifasi was part of a balanced scoring effort that boasted three double-figure scorers for St. Michael (23-3), which won its fifth straight game and capped a 6-0 mark in its first trip through the district.
St. Michael’s Karly Perkins turned in a double-double, with a game-high 13 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Tyler Morrison added 11 for the Warriors, who played without senior post player Alexandra Gaudet because of a concussion.
“St. Michael has five seniors and that goes a long way,” Broadmoor coach Terrence Gillette said. “We’re gaining experience on the fly through these games.”
Broadmoor (16-5, 4-2) had its seven-game win streak snapped but not without a battle until the end.
The Bucs overcame as much as a 12-point deficit (30-18) near the end of the second quarter and trailed 40-30 entering the fourth quarter.
Five players contributed to a 10-4 run that helped Broadmoor narrowed the gap to 44-40 on a pair of free throws by Mikayla Crockett with three minutes to go.
“We just started playing our game, doing the things we’ve normally done this season,” Gillette said. “We kind of got out of character at the end.”
Crifasi first impacted things for St. Michael midway through the first quarter in place of starter Glynn O’Neill, who picked up two quick fouls. Crifasi made the first of her three 3-pointers at the six-minute mark of the second quarter for the game’s seventh lead change and provided St. Michael with the lead (16-14) for good.
However with Broadmoor in the midst of its best stretch of the game, climbing to within four points, Crifasi helped slam the door shut on the Bucs, who twice defeated the Lady Warriors by one point last season, including a 49-48 victory in a Class 4A regional playoff game.
Guard Tyler Morrison set up Crifasi’s heroics, rebounding from an offensive foul the previous possession to grab one of her five steals and find Crifasi for a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:37 remaining.
That ignited what turned into a 10-2 surge over the last 2½ minutes and allowed St. Michael, which shot 51 percent, to match its largest lead of 12 points (54-42) with 1:39 left on Perkins’ three-point play.
Broadmoor, which shot 31 percent and turned the ball over 22 times, went the last five minutes without a field goal until Erica Teschke, who led the team with 12 points, scored at the buzzer on a putback.”
“That was big,” Reynolds-McClure said of Crifasi’s final 3-pointer. “I think it woke us up the last two minutes. She can score but it’s usually some other girls doing the scoring. This was a big night for her.”