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Archbishop Wood girls aim for four-peat on Saturday


The Archbishop Wood Vikings have earned the chance to defend their PIAA 5A girls basketball title. Wood (25-5, 14-0 PCL) will face District 10 champion Erie Cathedral Prep (22-3) Saturday in Hershey for the championship.

Wood earned the trip to Hershey with Tuesday’s semifinal 53-30 win over District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic at Norristown. Wood built up a 28-13 halftime lead, where it closed the half on a 24-8 run. Emily Knouse was nearly unstoppable with 20 first half points; she finished with 26. Ava Renninger added 14.

It feels like the last time the Vikings lost, James Wood was just a bishop. Wood carries a 14-game win streak into Hershey, with its last loss coming to Westtown on Jan. 21.

Every win except for Wood’s Feb. 26 54-52 double overtime PCL championship thriller over Archbishop Carroll has been by double digits. Fairleigh Dickinson-commit Renninger went over 1,000 career points in the game.

Wood mercy ruled Freire Charter 74-34 three days later to claim the District 12 title.

Wood overcame a sluggish start to pull away from Radnor 55-43 in the PIAA opening round. Junior Knouse and senior Lauren Greer both scored 15 to pace the Vikings. Three days later, Wood mercy ruled District Two’s Dallas 66-32; the Vikings more than doubled the Mountaineers in rebounds. Sophia McDonald joined St. Joseph-commit Knouse and Greer in scoring a dozen points.

The Vikings vanquished another District Two team – champion Scranton – 48-35 in Saturday’s quarterfinal. Scranton freshman Zya Small is already a Division I prospect but Wood held the Knights to just a dozen first half points while building a 22-12 halftime lead. Knouse’s 14 paced Wood. Renninger and Kutztown-bound Alexa Windish both added 11.

Cathedral Prep beat District Seven’s McKeesport 35-20 in the other Tuesday semifinal. The Ramblers are led by shooting guard Jayden McBride, an all-state honoree whose sister Kayla plays for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. Lena Walz, a St. Bonaventure commit, gives Cathedral another threat to pair with Georgetown-bound McBride.

Although Wood hopes to defend its 5A crown, the team has a streak of three straight titles at stake. In 2021 and 2022, the Vikings won the Class 4A state title.

The PIAA 5A final will tip off at 6 p.m. in the Giant Center.

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