More progress was made. More steps were taken.
Cathedral High School girls basketball moved forward during the 2022-2023 season with an experienced team – one that was competitive against the area’s top teams despite injuries and other adversity.
The Irish accomplished important things in ’22-’23. Even in difficult times.
“I think we made some headway competing against some of these teams we need to compete with to be successful in the postseason,” Irish girls basketball coach Lisa Finn said.
The Irish, after a 15-10 season in 2021-2022, finished 2022-2023 with a 11-13 record. They started the season 4-1, endured a difficult stretch with eight losses in 10 games, then won their final two regular-season games – over Carmel and Columbus East.
The Irish then pushed a strong Lawrence North team in the first round of the Section 10, Class 4A tournament before losing, 42-36. Lawrence North went on to win the sectional and regional championships.
“There's lots to learn from and lots that comes out of it,” Finn said after her fourth season as the Irish’s head coach. “Honestly, when you look at some of those big games that we played … a lot of times we were really, really close to handling them well.
“I think the one thing that we just struggled with was that confidence in realizing how good we really could have been.”
The Irish, who finished as the runner-up to Heritage Christian in the City Tournament, were led in 2022-2023 by:
*Senior Layla Gold (21.9 points per game, nine rebounds, 2.5 assists), who Finn said had a “great year, just doing a little bit of everything for us.”
*Junior Taylor Lewis (10.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg) who missed three games with a concussion midway through the season.
*Sophomore Jaeda Wilson (7.7, ppg, 3.1 rpg).
*Junior Catherine Cline (4.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg).
*Sophomore Abby Beasley (4.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg).
*Senior Nya Huff (3.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg).
Sophomore Reaghan Gilmore, the team’s “sixth man,” sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in early December – a rough moment for the Irish with Gilmore at the time beginning to feel comfortable in her role off the bench.
“Honestly, if I look back at the season, we just never confidence-wise and consistency-wise found it after that happened,” Finn said of the injury. “I think that does a lot to a team mentally.”
Finn added, “Playing some of the teams that we played, and having some of the setbacks injury-wise that we had, we were kind of limited just in numbers.”
The Irish again in 2022-2023 played one of the toughest schedules in Central Indiana while competing in the always-difficult Class 4A, Section 10. The Irish in 2023 played nine teams that received votes or were in ranked in the state’s Top 20.
“We're not going to drive an hour and a half just to play a team that we can maybe beat,” Finn said. “We're just not going to do that. So, we've got to raise the bar. I think it's my personality, too, just my level of expectation.
“To be honest with you, in that last game against LN, we didn't even need to have our best game to win. That’s what’s frustrating. That's why it's hard to win.”
The Irish next season will return a young team, one with multiple freshman and sophomores needing to contribute. Finn said the experience gained in 2022-2023 against a difficult schedule in difficult circumstance should benefit that team.
“With the girls that are coming back and, what we've got, we have a good foundation,” she said. “We’re definitely going to be young. I think it became very obvious this season just how hard you have to work and how hard you have to go to be successful – even against teams not in the Top 20.
“The level of expectation just raises even between jayvee and varsity, so they got a got a ton of experience, which is good for the future – just seeing how much you're going to have to elevate your game to step up that next level.
“Everybody has to be on the same page at the same time, and it's hard.”