by Tom Utescher
Mount St. Joseph Academy ended the regular season in summer basketball competition on a down note, falling to Pope John Paul II High School, 34-25.
Last week’s setback was not really a cause for concern, since the Magic were significantly shorthanded in terms of personnel, which also was the case in their only previous loss (to Norristown High) in the Lou Cappiello League. The Mounties are expected to have additional players back from vacation for the start of the playoffs this week.
As it turned out, the stumble against John Paul II did not even affect the Mount’s status as the first seed for the league tournament. In another regular-season swansong, Springside/Chestnut Hill Academy upset St. Hubert’s High School, giving St. Hubert’s its second loss in summer competition.
Mount St. Joe and Sts. Neumann Goretti High School also finished with two losses, but the first tiebreaker in the seeding process is the outcome of head-to-head meetings between the tied teams, and the MSJ girls defeated both the Saints and the St. Hubert’s Bambies.
A pair of free throws gave John Paul II the first lead in last week’s encounter, but the Mount quickly countered with a lay-up by sophomore Carly Monzo, and the Magic then moved ahead with junior Adrienne Cellucci’s mid-range jumper from the right wing. The Mounties appeared to be on the right path as a converted rebound by Monzo and a 15-footer by sophomore Gen Hagedorn increased their advantage to 8-2.
There were less than ten minutes remaining in the first period when John Paul II notched its first field goal with a baseline drive. That was the beginning of a 17-4 run that gave the Golden Panthers a 19-12 lead at the intermission. Hagedorn hit two more field goals for MSJ, but after the score was tied at 12-12 with under three minutes to go, JP II deposited two transition lay-ups and three free throws.
Neither team performed particularly well at the foul line; the Mount wound up shooting nine-for-19 at the stripe, and the Golden Panthers were 10-for-22.
Mount St. Joe junior Meg Geatens got the second half underway with a lay-up in transition, and she also knocked down a free throw awarded on the play to make it a four-point ballgame (19-15). The Golden Panthers answered with an 8-1 spurt (scoring twice off of steals) that spread the gap to double digits.
The Mounties would come no closer than seven points the rest of the way, and JP II was ahead by a dozen (34-22) before the Magic hit three free throws in the final 90 seconds of the contest.
Monzo and Geatens scored eight and seven points, respectively, and the Mount received six from Hagedorn, three from Cellucci, and one from junior Meg McCabe.