Seton Catholic's Julia Barcello was recognized with two commemorative basketballs prior to Thursday night's game vs. Notre Dame Prep signifying her 1,000 points scored and 1,000 rebounds collected in three-plus seasons of toil for the Lady Sentinels.
Barcello's contributions in those areas were strong apparent again and much needed as Seton fended off pesky Notre Dame, 44-39, in a Division II girls game at Seton.
“If Julia didn't play the way she did tonight, we don't win,” Seton coach Karen Self said. “She played tough defense, and got us a lot of rebounds.”
Barcello, a 6-foot senior who recently signed a letter of intent to Colgate, scored 14 points and grabbed an unofficial 18 rebounds. Seton improved to 7-1 on the season, but had to battle every step of the way to knock off Notre Dame. Notre Dame was playing its first game of the season and gave a good account of itself given the disparity in games played.
Seton never trailed, but never held more than a seven-point lead. Both teams settled for a half-court game that featured pretty good defense on both sides. The difference besides Barcello's play, was the outside shooting of Seton's other veteran in its starting lineup, Heather Heild.
Heild scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the second half. She was Seton's only perimeter threat in this one making three outside shots, including a three in the third period that allowed the Lady Sentinels some breathing room after three quarters. Seton led 18-17 at halftime with both teams shooting under 30 percent (Seton under 25 percent. Seton shot better in the third period to bump its lead to 34-29 entering the final quarter.
“Heather hit some clutch shots for us,” Self said, including two free throws with 1:28 left to give Seton a six-point cushion (41-35). “It was nice to see the players we count on to lead us come through…….
“Notre Dame is a strong team, solid, well-balanced and disciplined. We had too many times tonight where we didn't box out, rotate on defense and just stared at screens. We were lucky.”
Notre Dame coach Andy Kiltz was happy to finally get a game in after four and half weeks of practice.
“Our six players that played tonight played hard and were in decent shape,” Klitz said. “Seton puts so much pressure on in the half court, it's a tough first game. For us to be able to stay with them pretty much the whole time gives our girls some confidence. They have to be one of the top five teams in our division. The two girls that hurt us tonight (Barcello and Heild) were the ones we couldn't contain.”
Senior Mollie Hughes, who battled all night with Barcello, led Notre Dame with 10 points. Emily Phillips and Lauren Loven scored nine points each and Taylor Masson had six.