by Tom Utescher
As in the their regular-season meeting with Norristown High School in the Lou Cappiello Summer Basketball League, the Mount St. Joseph Magic started slow and fell behind early in last Monday’s rematch in the playoff semifinals.
But while the Mount still trailed at halftime against the Eagles when they clashed in late June, this time the Magic were ahead 13-6 at the intermission and they went on to win, 29-16. This week the top-seeded Magic will play for the championship against number three Pope John Paul High School, which defeated second-seeded Nazareth Academy in the other semifinal last Monday, 38-21.
Sophomore Ashley Smith struck from near the top of the key to get Mount St. Joe going in the semifinal bout, but after that the MSJ offense dried up for six minutes or so as fourth-seeded Norristown collected two field goals and a pair of free throws to go up 6-2.
The Magic offense revived with an improbable 16-footer by sophomore Shannon Sabia, whose ball hit the rim, bounced way up in the air, and then fell back through the hoop. Junior Kristen Lucas and senior Emily Carpenter kept it going, and Smith put in a second field goal before junior Libby Tacka finished out the half with a three-pointer from the left wing, giving the Mounties a seven-point advantage at the break.
After Carpenter and Tacka each scored in the opening minute of the second half, the Magic’s lead was never in any real danger. The Eagles kept battling, and had the gap down to nine points a few times late in the game. The final margin settled in a 13 points after Sabia fed junior Sarah Wills for a transition lay-up and Lucas converted an offensive rebound.
The final reckoning showed eight points apiece for Carpenter and Tacka, four each for Smith and Lucas, three for Wills, and two for Sabia.