As published by Bob Grotz in the Delaware County Daily Times - 2/27/2011
| Katie Young
The only thing more disheartening than losing a championship game is blowing it at home.
Neumann University seniors Katie Young, Krista DiRomualdo, an Archbishop Prendergast product, and Kieran Young relayed that to teammates after Immaculata scratched out a modest lead with the season on the line Saturday at the Mirenda Center.
“They said ‘we’re not letting them cut down our nets,’” sophomore guard Bethany Humenik said. “They told us ‘this is our house, this is our time and they’re not going to cut down our nets.’”
Shortly thereafter it was Neumann’s time to take down the nets.
With 54.1 seconds left Humenik drilled a 3-pointer in rhythm to snap a tie and bring the crowd to its feet.
Seconds later Katie Young added a pair of insurance free throws with 30 ticks left to seal a 66-60 success giving the Knights their second straight CSAC title and NCAA Division III Tournament berth.
Young insisted it was a team effort. The Knights (20-7) knew otherwise. They would have been watching their opponent celebrate had the CSAC Player of the Year not erupted for 25 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and two assists in addition to reaching 1,000 career points.
“What a night for her,” Knights coach Frank Farnese said. “We win the championship. She scores her 1,000th point. She’s CSAC tournament MVP. She threw all of us on her shoulders and just carried us.”
It looked like the Mighty Macs (19-9) would go quietly after Neumann rolled to an early 21-10 lead without even shooting well.
With Young in the paint the Knights had begun their domination of the glass, where they owned a 55-39 bulge in the game.
The Knights hadn’t played up to their standard yet held an eight-point lead at the intermission, both teams seeming preoccupied with taking that extra dribble instead of catching and shooting in rhythm.
The wakeup calls for the Knights starting coming with nine minutes left in the second half. Point guard Chrissy Esbensen, who scored a team-high 16 points, gave the Macs a 50-48 lead.
After Young’s 1,000th point cut the gap to one point, Esbensen’s three-point play boosted the Macs to a 55-51 advantage with 3:58 remaining.
The momentum was firmly with the visitors until the Knights put their season in the hands of Young, who twice posted-up the visitors to knot the score at 58 and 60. That also opened up enough daylight for Humenik to make her game-changing trey.
“It wasn’t a set play,” said Humenik who tallied nine points. “I just got it in the corner and I didn’t think twice. When it went in I was running down the court saying, ‘oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness — I made it!’”
Young, and the Knights’ defense, did the rest. Farnese switched his team into a full-court press to keep the ball away from the immensely talented Esbensen, and that kept the Macs from getting good shots.
Humenik remembers the time when Neumann was considered “an easy W.” No more. No more.
“We lost the two-time Player of the Year Brittany Whetts going into the season,” Farnese said. “Who was to say it wasn’t going to be a rebuilding year? We got people to step up this year. Krista DiRomualdo, Katie Young, Sami Borcky, Kieran Young, Bethany Humenik. They took the challenge and just ran with it. Two times, it’s a great feeling. Especially winning it in front of our fans.”
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