by Tom Utescher
Showcase season has arrived for area basketball squads, and Mount St. Joseph and Germantown Academy were among the 28 teams that appeared in last Saturday’s Play-by-Play event at Philadelphia University. For both the Magic and the Patriots, the hoopfest provided exposure for their talents, but not an addition to their win columns.
The Mount arrived at Philly U. with a 12-0 record, but one day after Friday the 13th of January, the 13th game of the season proved unlucky for the Magic. They suffered a 46-38 setback against Spring-Ford High School (11-2), a team they’ve often faced at this annual extravaganza. On an adjacent court, the Mount’s Catholic Academies colleague, Villa Maria, was engaged in an even closer contest against GA, and a fourth-quarter surge carried the Hurricanes (10-3) to a 38-25 victory over the Patriots (11-6).
Mount St. Joe and the Spring Ford Rams went neck and neck through the first half. Late in the opening quarter, the Magic were holding the ball at 12-12, but they missed a premature shot and saw the Rams charge down for a transition bucket to end the round with a slim lead. It was the Magic who enjoyed a two-point edge at halftime, 22-20.
Spring Ford went ahead by seven in the middle of the third quarter, but the Magic had closed up the score to 31-27 when several players collided in a scramble for a loose ball and hit the floor at one end of the court. With the clock showing 36.5 seconds left in round three, play was halted as EMT’s were called in to attend Spring-Ford’s Sammi Haas, who struck her head on the hardwood. The junior never lost consciousness and showed signs of normal movement, but suspecting a severe concussion, the trainers played it safe and Haas left the gym on a gurney.
The Mount scored at the end of the frame to trail only 31-29 for the start of the fourth quarter, but Spring-Ford, with the best of causes to rally around, came on strong the rest of the way.
Mariah Traywick, a senior forward headed for Shippensburg University, scored eight of her game-high 14 points during the last eight minutes, as MSJ sophomore forward Carly Monzo had to leave the game with her fifth foul. Traywick and Haley Puckett (10 points) topped a list of eight scorers for the winners.
Sophomore guard Alex Louin led the Magic with 10 points, with Monzo and senior Cailin Schmeer close behind with nine apiece. Bridget Higgins and Kelsey Jones each scored four, and Meg Geatens added the other two points.
On the court next door, there was one-point margin at the half, with the 20-19 count favoring GA. By the end of the third quarter, Germantown had expanded its lead, at 30-23, but one problem that lurked in the background was that the Patriots were fouling a good deal while trying to defend the Hurricanes. Putting disciplined, methodical Villa on the foul line has been the bane of many opponents.
The Hurricanes pulled ahead, 36-32, but with under 30 seconds left to play junior guard Natalie Toner bagged a three-pointer from the top of the key to get the Pats within one. That gave Toner 14 points for the afternoon, tying her for game-high honors along with Villa guard Lisa Mirarchi.
Fouled again, Villa added one point from the line to make it 37-35, then GA came down the floor to miss both a three-point try and a follow-up attempt on the rebound. It was another foul, another point for the ‘Canes, and the 38-35 final was up in lights. Germantown got off one last shot, but that didn’t go down, either.
For Villa, Mirarchi’s effort was supported by eight points from Kellie O’Rourke and seven by Kelly Anthony. GA got seven from senior guard Jaryn Garner, six from Fran Sweeney, four from Kiernan McCloskey, and two apiece from Megan McCloskey and Dempsey Cooper.