It wasn’t how they hoped the season would end. Rachael Rose and her Scranton Prep basketball teammates gave it their best effort, but lost to Archbishop Wood, 56-39, in the PIAA Class 4A girls basketball semifinals. The Classics finished 18-2.
Rose, a senior and University of South Carolina-Upstate commit, scored 21 points and added 7 rebounds and 3 steals in the loss.
Here is more from her Athlete of the Week interview:
Other sports I play: Soccer
Favorite teams: Penn State football
Athletes I admire: Mariah Jefferson. She used to play for UConn. Just her leadership and quickness. She was one of the smaller players on the court, but that didn’t scare her. She was unstoppable.
Favorite food: Grilled chicken
Superstitions and rituals: I wear the same socks and hair tie for every game.
Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Pat Summit, coach John Bucci, Kathy Smith-McDonald. We all call her “Lovey.”
Shots that normally went in for the team during the season didn’t fall that night. How frustrating was that? That was tough, obviously. We weren’t having our best game offensively. We knew if we wanted to beat a team like Archbishop Wood, we knew we’d have to shoot well but it just wasn’t our night. We knew we couldn’t stop shooting. We just kept going and tried to think about the next-shot mentality.
Did Archbishop Wood do anything that surprised you? They trapped very well. They called out girls from everywhere to trap. Their ball pressure was just crazy good and I think it took us back a little bit. They shot the 3-pointer well, too. We were hoping they would miss some of them. Because of their size, we were focused on keeping them out of the lane that we knew we were going to have to give up some open shots. They played great. Credit to them.
Since that was the final game of your high school career, were you at least pleased with your performance and ending on that note? Personally, I was proud of myself and the team for not giving up. We had a couple chances when they got up big where we could have just let go. But we didn’t. We stayed together and never turned our backs on each other. I’m proud of that.
Looking back on your career, what are some of the things that stand out to you? Playing with my cousin Cecelia (Collins) since kindergarten. I can never remember a time playing without her. It’s been so great and I’m so thankful to have done that. Also playing for coach Beviglia has been such a joy to me. Any particular highlights? There are two. My freshman year when we made a run in states. Nobody really saw us coming and thought anything of us and we kind of shocked everybody that year. And then my junior year, the Lynett Tournament. That was such a special moment and a great tournament that I was looking forward to my whole life to play in and winning. So that was just an awesome experience.
You’re continuing your career at South Carolina-Upstate. Talk about your decision to go there. I had a great connection with coach (Becky) Burke from the start. She has a winning mentality, is a very competitive person and I think is going to do great things. I’m so happy I get to play for her. Plus, the school and the area was just beautiful. Did you remember coach Burke at all from her days at Abington Heights? I didn’t know her. I heard about her and remember seeing her name on Abington Heights’ wall and hearing how good she was playing at Louisville. But I didn’t know her personally until she started recruiting me.
What aspects of your game do you feel you need to work on heading to college? Defensively, I need to get quicker moving laterally and get stronger as a whole. Offensively, I just have to keep working hard every day and get my shot off quicker.
You mentioned your cousin Cecelia Collins. How strange will it feel not playing with her next season? We talked about that after the game a little. We don’t know what it’s going to feel like, we’ve never had to do that before. It’s definitely going to be different. It’s going to be an adjustment for both of us because we look for each other constantly on the court; we always know where each other are. It’s going to be difficult but I can’t wait to watch her.
What is going to be your major? Exercise and sport science/pre-physical therapy. I’ve been going to physical therapy for my ankle for a long time. Just the environment and I wanted to be around sports and athletes, so I thought it would be a good fit for me.
How tough was this season with COVID and wearing a mask while playing? It was definitely difficult at first, getting used to the mask. Just the feeling of not knowing if your season was going to end or not. We had COVID issues around Christmastime, so we’re lucky it didn’t happen during the state playoffs. You just never knew. It was a constant fear of not knowing if this was going to be your last game or practice. We were being extra cautious, but there were some things you just couldn’t control.
During more than 30 years at The Times-Tribune, Scott has covered everything from high schools to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His current beats include motor sports, local colleges, high school cross country and high school baseball. He also is a copy editor and page designer. His articles have won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Eastern Motorsports Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Keystone Press. He also has been honored by the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the Minor League Football Alliance. In 2016, he was presented the Media Service Award by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. A Long Island, New York, native, Scott graduated from the University of Scranton in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He lives in Peckville with his wife, Andrea, and daughters, Bridget and Emily. Contact him at email@example.com; 570-348-9100, x5109; or @swalshTT on Twitter