by Tom Utescher
A strong 6-2 regular-season showing in the Friends Schools League earned Germantown Friends the third seed for last week’s league tournament.
The Tigers had a tough go in a (postponed) Friday semifinal at Abington Friends, trailing 19-4 at the end of the first quarter, and ultimately succumbing to the second-seeded Kangaroos, 65-39.
Fighting through foul trouble, senior forward Caroline Myran stayed in the game until the middle of the fourth quarter, finally departing with a team-high 13 points for GFS (7-10 overall). Juniors Imani Ross and Julia Mankoff contributed nine and eight points, respectively, and rounding out the Tigers’ total were junior Schuyler Alig, with five points, and sophomore Lizzie Becker, with four.
For Abington (8-1, 18-5), powerful sophomore forward Alexa Middleton banged inside for a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds, while her classmate Asia Turner worked the perimeter, targeting three three-point field goals and finishing with 15 points. AFS senior point guard Bianca Adams, who is headed to Chestnut Hill College, scored four points and handed out 11 assists.
In a regular-season clash back in the middle of January, the Tigers lost on their home floor against Abington, 60-22.
GFS head coach Ashley Webster recalled, “In that game, we got down and we sort of said, well, that’s it. In this game today, I was very proud of my team, because they played hard from start to finish. They gave their all and they hung in as best they could.”
The GFS Tigers aren’t done for the season; they’ve drawn the seventh seed for the Pa. Independent Schools Tournament and will host a first-round game this Friday against number 10 Baldwin School.
Abington never trailed last Friday, getting out to a 5-0 lead on a field goal and free throw by Keira Jones (five points total) and the first of many Middleton lay-ups. A little over two minutes in, Mankoff scored from the paint to put the visitors on the board, and with another lay-up later on, she accounted for all of Germantown’s four points in the opening stanza.
Meanwhile Abington had five different players find the basket and led by 15 by the quarter’s end. The Tigers’ Myran had to sit for a spell in the first period after picking up two personal fouls in short order, but she returned in the second round to score three baskets from the paint and deposit a pair of free throws.
“Having Caroline on the bench in the first quarter killed us because she’s our aggressor out there,” Webster said. “When she got the third foul in the second quarter, I felt I just had to leave her in the game.”
Abington marked down three-pointers for Turner and Alyssa DeNofa (six points) in that second round, while also running the floor well to score in transition. The ability to force turnovers from the visitors contributed to Abington’s up-tempo game.
The hosts added seven points to their first-quarter advantage to set the halftime score at 36-14. Mankoff, as well as Myran, had three fouls at the break, and Ross had two.
Given the score at the midway point, Coach Webster told her charges that they had nothing to gain by passing the ball endlessly and nothing to lose by attacking the basket. The Tigers began to look more lively on offense as guards Becker and Ross came out to score two lay-ups apiece in the third quarter.
Abington has a good deal of talent among its reserve players, so even with some of the starters on the bench later in the second half, the Kangaroos were able to maintain a lead that was well into the comfort zone.
“Everybody was ‘on’ for Abington,” Webster said. “There were a lot of little things we weren’t doing well; coming for the pass, being confident with the ball, making good passes and looking to score more often.”
In addition to the aforementioned Abington scorers, Jade Young had eight points for the winners, with Morgan Burrell and Isabel McPeak scoring two points apiece and Marissa Cotroneo adding one.