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Nardin, Holy Angels bow in Catholic finals

It was a lost weekend for the Nardin and Holy Angels girls basketball teams.

Nardin lost to St. Thomas Aquinas, 63-53, while the Angels fell to Sacred Heart of Long Island, 56-35, in Catholic State Championship games played Sunday at St. John's University.

The Gators had no answer for 2,000-point scorer Judith Ray of Aquinas, who netted 30 points. She has signed with Rutgers.

"She was everything as advertised," said Nardin coach Jake Herlihy. "She's a dominant player, very strong and physical."

The game was close throughout the first half. Ray hit a 25-footer at the buzzer to give St. Thomas a 30-29 lead at halftime. Nardin's last lead was 33-31 in the third quarter. The Gators' leading scorer, Kendra Brim, picked up her third and fourth fouls within five seconds in the third quarter and fouled out with five minutes to go in the fourth.

"We picked up the scoring slack, but what really hurt us was they were a big, physical team and they started to dominate the weakside rebounding in the second half," said Herlihy.

Nardin cut the lead to 48-46 with 5:51 left, but couldn't get any closer. Sarah Sciarrino led Nardin (20-7) with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Katie Hempling and Caroline Hourihan added eight each.

Holy Angels fell behind, 11-0, against Sacred Heart but still made a run. "We had a horrible first quarter, but after that we played really good," said Angels coach Fran Snyder. "I don't think it was us not being ready, they just really jumped on us."

The Angels trailed by as many as 16, but rallied to within 36-32 with 5:30 left in the game. It was a six-point game (38-32) when leading scorer Ann Cassell sprained her ankle and was forced to leave the game. The Angels were held scoreless in the game's final 3:30.

"It was a long climb, but when Ann sprained her ankle that took the life out of us," said Snyder.

Katie Finn led the Angels (15-14) with 10 points, all in the second half. Cassell had two three-pointers, giving her 58 for the season and breaking her own single-season school record.

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