"We watched it on film and you keep telling them and telling them, 'She's quick as lightning ...'" George said. "We didn't adjust to her speed until, well, it took almost until the second half. Even in the third quarter she got past us a couple times.
"She's a great player."
Tornadoes senior post Christina Perles, coming off a 30-point outburst in the first round, picked up the scoring slack with nine third-quarter points. She hit a lefty hook in the lane and banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing in the final 1:27 of the third, but those points were the last Mount Carmel scored until Isabella Stellar drained a trey with 3 minutes left.
In the interim, Pine Grove senior Shannon Zimmerman scored 12 consecutive points, staking the Cardinals to a 40-34 lead. The 5-foot-10 Zimmerman and two similarly tall seniors, the 5-10 Steffi Sampson and 5-9 Lauren Thompson, combined for 20 rebounds and limited the Tornadoes opportunities for second-chance points.
The Tornadoes shot 7-for-23 in the second half and had just five offensive rebounds and no points off putbacks.
"It was tough underneath there," said Lisa Varano. "We were battling for rebounds, but they were long. Our girls sometimes had position they just weren't able to poke it away."
Zimmerman scored seven of her game-high 18 points from the foul line in the fourth quarter, and the Cardinals made 9 of 12 to close out the game after Stellar's 3-pointer cut Mount Carmel's deficit to 41-37.
The Tornadoes held Pine Grove scoring leader Becky Evans to 13 points, six less than her average and four shy of 1,000 for her career.
"We wanted to limit Becky's points, and we did that. We hung with them for three quarters, and then had some breakdowns," said Lisa Varano. "Their size got to us (and) we just couldn't buy a basket. Sometimes that happens."