by Tom Utescher
Overcoming a spirited performance from a short-staffed Gwynedd Mercy College team, the Ursinus College summer hoops squad won its season finale in the Malvern League last Thursday evening, 51-45.
The four incoming Ursinus freshmen from area schools were all in action; Adrienne Cellucci and Meg Geatens of Mount St. Joseph Academy, Gianna Pownall of Springside Chestnut Hill, and Angela Upright of Germantown Academy. There are no playoffs, but the Bears have a final record of 8-2 to indicate that they were one of the top franchises in the league this summer.
The Cabrini College courts where the Malvern League games are played are in an air conditioned field house, although the weather outside was actually fairly cool last Thursday.
Offense from two other incoming freshmen, Libby Lannon and Hannah Kelly, helped Ursinus got ahead early, and a little later Geatens scored in transition and then added a lay-up. However, the points from the Mount grad’s second field goal never appeared on the scoreboard, so it’s a good thing that the final margin in the contest wasn’t any closer.
A pair of three-pointers by yet another new Ursinus addition, Olivia Kane, spread the score to 18-10 (actually 20-10) a little over a dozen minutes into the contest. Gwynedd dug in and did not give up any more ground, and despite a free throw and a three-point field goal by Pownall, the Ursinus lead at halftime was certainly not insurmountable at 27-21.
Gwynedd only had five players available and thus could not sub, but the Bears, about a dozen strong, never upped the tempo enough to truly wear down their opponents.
Two early treys helped Gwynedd close up the score to 36-33 eight minutes into the second half, with a jumper and two made foul shots by Cellucci helping the Bears cling to a slim lead as the midpoint of the period approached. Cellucci’s free throws actually proved to be the start of a 10-3 run that finally gave Ursinus a little breathing room and created the first double-digit margin of the night, at 46-36.
With under five minutes to go, the tally was 49-38, but Gwynedd kept battling and there was only a six-point spread at the end of the game.
Kane led the Bears’ charge with 10 points for the night, while Geatens’ disappearing field goal gave her an official total of six (actually eight). Pownall and Cellucci each contributed four points to the winners’ total, and Upright added two.