by Tom Utescher
After sputtering to an 18-17 halftime edge last Wednesday against the visiting girls of Engineering & Science High School, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy began firing on all cylinders and pulled away to win, 51-27.
Lions power forward Michelle Boggs led all scorers with 21 points, while point guard Gianna Pownall produced 11 points and guard/forward Sydni Epps (recently returned from an ankle injury) accumulated seven points and six rebounds.
A day earlier, the Lions upped their Girls Inter-Ac League record to 2-0, beating the visiting Owls of Agnes Irwin, 50-31. Each team had one player score in double digits (senior Elana Roadcloud with 13 points for SCH and Emily Wetz with 11 for Irwin), but the locals had eight different players contribute to their total.
The Lions cruised after assuming a 25-12 halftime lead. Boggs, a senior, finished with nine points and sophomore Julia Schumacher scored seven, while Epps and senior Alexis Giovinazzo each added six points. Three points apiece came from juniors Maddi Hinchey and Gianna Pownall, and sophomore Madi Sehn.
On Wednesday, the Lions stumbled to a 3-2 advantage over the first five minutes and called a time-out. They had already missed eight lay-ups, and there were more errant shots to follow from under the basket. Boggs bagged 10 points in the first half, but in the second quarter alone that total was matched by E & S’s Monique Whaley-Briggs. With standout guard Brittany Hrynko having moved on to DePaul University (where she is a freshman classmate of Germantown Academy’s Alexa Gallagher), Whaley-Biggs is the top returning offensive threat for the Pegasus.
After their spate of errant lay-ups early in the game, the Lions had made a number of attempts from the outside, but their shot selection wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.
Still wanting his team to take the ball down low, coach Steve Purcell asked his Lions at halftime “We’re bigger than them, so why are we settling for jump shots? Get the ball inside. Just focus, take your time, and don’t worry about getting fouled. That’s all there is with lay-ups.”
From a slim 18-17 edge at the intermission, SCH pulled away by increasing its offensive production and by limiting the visitors’ Whaley-Biggs to just two points in the second half. It was still only a six-point game at the start of the fourth quarter (32-26), but the Lions opened it up with a 12-0 surge over the first five minutes of the final frame. Boggs hit two lay-ups and a short jumper during the spree, which also included a basket in transition by Pownall, a jumper by Hinchey, and a pair of free throws by Roadcloud (five points total).
With the game clock under two minutes the Lions had five subs out on the court, and received a lay-up by Olivia Byron off an inbounds play and a three-pointer from the left corner by fellow freshman Caroline Henry.
UPDATE – The SCH squad ended the week with a winning record of 4-3 overall after defeating St. Hubert’s Catholic High School, 47-39. Pownall and Epps finished with 16 and 13 points, respectively, for the Lions, who roared out to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter.