by Tom Utescher
Summer League hoops action got underway for several local grads last week as the Division III Malvern League kicked off its season at Cabrini College. Playing for the Ursinus College entry in the league are Mount St. Joseph alum Adrienne Cellucci and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy graduate Gianna Pownall, both guards who are rising sophomores for the Bears.
After their ballclub built a one-point halftime edge into a seven-point lead with ten minutes remaining in the game, rival Gwynedd Mercy University used perimeter scoring to catch up and then ultimately prevail, 43-38.
A third area athlete at Ursinus, Erdenheim’s Angela Upright, is a 6’2” post player out of Germantown Academy, but recent ACL surgery will keep her out of action for summer ball. Rising Ursinus junior Elana Roadcloud, an SCH graduate, will not play in the Malvern League, but will be in action closer to home in the NCAA League outside of Willow Grove.
For last Tuesday’s Malvern League debut, the Ursinus squad was able to obtain the services of former Inter-Ac League star Devon Kane, who played for the Academy of Notre Dame and then for Villanova University. Her younger sister, Olivia, is on the Ursinus team, and Devon may appear occasionally when the summer Bears are short on personnel.
Against Gwynedd last week, Ursinus led by several baskets a few times in the opening period, but was ahead by just a single point at halftime, 20-19.
Pownall put in a pair of free throws to get the scoring underway in the second half, then a jumper by Devon Kane and back-to-back lay-ups by Libby Lannon were added for Ursinus while Gwynedd deposited two field goals. Another Notre Dame grad, Ali Abbonizio, scored in transition to put the Bears up 30-23 with 10:35 left to play.
Over the next five-and-a-half minutes, Gwynedd rallied and went ahead for good with an 11-0 outburst that included three three-point field goals. Even with this, the Bears did not get out to guard the outside shooters effectively. After the teams traded regular field goals, Gwynedd dropped in another three-ball to lead 39-33 with under three minutes remaining.
MSJ grad Cellucci scored the last five points of the night for Ursinus, hitting a breakaway lay-up and making three of four free throws. That helped the Bears draw within three points of the leaders several times, but Gwynedd emerged with a five-point victory.