Chandler Seton Catholic’s girls are in their annual customary spot to challenge for a basketball championship.
It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s the old Class 3A, the old Class 4A Division II or the latest grouping, Division II, the Sentinels are ready.
This time, Seton will face Vail Cienega for the championship on Saturday (March 1), courtesy of a 58-47 victory over Buckeye High in a semifinal game on Thursday (Feb. 27) at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
It wasn’t as easy as the numbers might indicate.
Seton, the top seed, had a big lead in the first half, only to watch it evaporate as 12th-seeded Buckeye pulled even with 20-20 halftime tie.
Seton (31-3) gradually pulled away in the second half.
“We were not getting good ball pressure in the second quarter, and we did a lot better job of that in the second half,’’ said long-time Sentinels coach Karen Self.
Senior guard Heather Heild scored 23 points to lead Seton, while senior Julia Barcello and freshman Jennifer Wirth had 13 each.
“Heather is a gamer. She does not like to lose,’’ Self said.
Junior post player Allies Fuller had a strong game for Buckeye with 21 points.
Self said she has the utmost respect for Fuller and her game.
“She can get up and down the floor and she has a nice soft shot,’’ Self said.
Freshman Liz Holter had a key defensive role for Seton, matched against Buckeye sharpshooter Bailey Wirtzberger.
Wirtzberger finished with eight points, but six came in the fourth quarter when the game was beginning to slip away.
If Seton should happen to capture the crown, it would be the culmination of a long, rewarding season.
“This is the most competitive state tournament we’ve been in for a long time,’’ Self said.