by Tom Utescher
In one of the many girls basketball showcases that crop up this time of year, both Penn Charter and Germantown Academy were in action last Sunday at Upper Dublin High School.
Performing at the Blue Star High School Elite Invitational, GA was up first, and eked out a 49-44 victory in an exciting showdown with Cicero North High School, a traditionally strong program from Syracuse, N.Y. Later on, Charter recovered from a small deficit at the outset and rolled back over Wissahickon High School, 45-21.
Charter and GA had played against each other five days earlier, when the visiting Quakers prevailed in the Inter-Ac League match-up, 51-47. Trailing by a point after the opening quarter, PC edged ahead by halftime, 20-17, then added another point to its margin in the third round before an even exchange between the teams in a 13-13 fourth period.
PC’s Ayanna Matthews played a major role in fending off a challenge by the Patriots in the third quarter, when the sophomore guard scored 10 of her game-high 14 points.
The Quakers ended up with eight points each from sophomore guard Hannah Fox and freshman forward Mireyah Davis (10 rebounds), while six points apiece were furnished by senior Kristina Kubach and freshmen Camryn Gold and Alexis Hnatkowsky.
Senior forward Margaret Ann Hubbell had a game-high 15 points for the Patriots, and GA received a pair of 12-point performances from junior guard Olivia Gorman and sophomore forward Lauren Oeth (10 rebounds).
At Sunday’s showcase, Cicero North was on fire right from the start at the three-point line, jumping out to a 7-2 lead on GA before the Patriots collected themselves.
Germantown has had two regular sophomore starters out of action with injuries, Kendall Grassela and Erin Lindahl. Freshmen Abby Starzecky and Lily Bolen have both been filling in well, and best of all, Gorman had a superb showing against the Northstars, ringing up a game-high 29 points by seamlessly blending three-point missiles with lay-ups off the drive.
After the first quarter ended with the New Yorkers enjoying a 21-19 edge, the defenses stepped up in the second stanza. Back-to-back buckets from close range by Hubbell and Gorman had the Pats ahead at the outset, but later it looked like Cicero would go into the locker room with a 26-23 advantage. Gorman didn’t let that happen, knocking down a trey from the left baseline with four seconds left to tie it up.
It was Cicero’s Beth Bonin who came through with a late “three” at the end of the third round, halving a six-point GA lead to make it 38-35 for the start of the fourth quarter.
The Pats remained ahead, but never very far ahead, and inside of two minutes to go the tally was 46-43. GA missed a wide open lay-up on a full-court pass from the baseline, but during the same stretch the Northstars collected just one of a possible four points at the foul line to make it 46-44.
Cicero had to start fouling for possession, but they had to commit several personals just to get GA up into the one-and-one bonus. Eventually, a seventh foul sent Gorman to the line, and after she made one of two shots, Cicero called time out, trailing by three with 27 seconds left. The Northstars came up and went into their offense, but before they could shoot the ball GA’s Starzecky stole it near the top of the key.
She quickly passed the ball to Hubbell, who was fouled but then missed the first shot of her one-and-one with nine seconds left. On the rebound, the ball went out of bounds off of Cicero. They had to foul GA once more, and this time Gorman put in a pair with five seconds remaining.
Coming down the court, Cicero’s Sam Roberts tried to get off a three-point shot, but it was deflected by Gorman and the buzzer sounded.
Hubbell finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for the winners, with Oeth adding six points, eight boards, and five assists. Two points for Leena Kardacz and one from Bolen completed the scoring for the Patriots, who improved to 11-5 overall.
Cicero (8-3) received 11 points from McKayla Roberts, and seven each from Elizabeth Miles and Sam Tortora.
In the Penn Charter game later on, Wissahickon came in with a record of 2-9, so the Quakers might have been a little surprised when the Trojans took a 6-0 lead in the opening minute thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Bridget Sweeney. Wiss wouldn’t hit another field goal for almost 10 minutes though, while PC rebounded vigorously, forced turnovers and quickly took over the lead.
Matthews, who’d had the big game against GA, showed she was still on-target as she rang up nine points in a first quarter that ended with the Quakers up 16-6. Wissahickon recouped one point during the second quarter, when neither team played with much verve. The scoreboard came to rest at 22-13 for the intermission.
Penn Charter perked up with a dozen points in the third period, and Wissahickon kept falling farther behind, putting up just four points in each of the last two quarters. Fox, Kubach, and Hnatkowski each drilled a three pointer in the second half and the Quakers won going away.
Matthews left the court with a game-high 13 points, along with seven rebounds and five steals, while Fox also pulled in seven rebounds and logged eight of her 12 total points in the last two periods. Hnatkowski had six points in the win and Kubach contributed five, with Davis (eight rebounds), Gold, and Taylor Zahairagunn chipping in with three points each as PC raised its record to 15-2.
Sweeney’s opening-minute field goals made her Wissahickon’s second-highest scorer in the game behind Julie Weber, who scored seven of her nine points after halftime.