by Tom Utescher
In a busy basketball week in mid-January, the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy girls split two games against Inter-Ac opponents and also went 1-1 outside the league, ending up at 9-5 overall.
On Tuesday, January 13, Inter-Ac leader Germantown Academy took a 66-37 decision against the SCH Blue Devils, who came back the following afternoon to hang a 60-45 loss on Bodine High School of the Philadelphia Public League. Claiming their first Inter-Ac League victory on Friday at the expense of Penn Charter, 41-39, the Devils dropped a non-league game on Saturday, falling 53-48 to a Perkiomen School squad they’d beaten back in December.
The GA Patriots had just returned from a three-game stint at the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans, but they apparently suffered no jet lag as they cruised past Springside Chestnut Hill early last week. Senior guard Olivia Gorman paced the Pats with a game-high 23 points, while eighth-grader Mo’ne Davis posted a team high total of 11 for SCH.
The Blue Devils encountered another high-scoring guard the following day when Bodine arrived in Chestnut Hill, but despite a 25-point performance from the Ambassadors’ Tiana Garvin, SCH prevailed, led by 15 points from junior Lindsay Hiner.
SCH had stumbled against several teams that are traditionally in the lower half of the Inter-Ac standings, but on Friday they picked up a victory against a Penn Charter ballclub that came in ranked second in the league. The Quakers were missing a longtime starter in junior guard Ayanna Matthews due to an injury, but the visitors still worked their way out to a 21-13 halftime lead.
After the intermission, a 16-10 third quarter for SCH put the Blue Devils in position to be around at the end of the game. The officials ruled that a jumper flung up by sophomore forward Destini Curry was released with fractions of a second still on the clock, breaking a 39-39 tie and giving the hosts their first victory in the Inter-Ac.
Curry scored four points on the day, while junior forward Essence Walden led the winners with 12 points and Hiner had nine. SCH got six points apiece from Davis and sophomore forward Chloe Burns, and two each from senior guard Caroline Henry and eighth-grade forward Delaney Sweitzer.
Guards Hannah Fox (a junior) and Alexis Hnatkowski (a sophomore) had 14 and 13 points, respectively, for Charter, which received seven points from sophomore Mireyah Davis and five from senior Nicolette Napoleon, who are both forwards.
In a tournament in early December, Springside Chestnut Hill had beaten Perkiomen School, 51-37, but in last week’s rematch with the Pennsburg, Pa. school, the Blue Devils were playing their fourth game in five days and were coming off of a dramatic, emotional league victory.
After playing out at GA on Tuesday, the Blue Devils had been at home for their next two games. Now they would go back on the road, but not very far. Saturday’s set-to with the Perkiomen Panthers was part of a multi-team event staged at Chestnut Hill College, the 16th annual Kobe Bryant Play-By-Play Boosters Classic.
Two three-pointers by Hiner and one each for Davis and junior Marissa Pownall powered the Blue Devils to a 16-12 lead over the first five-and-a-half minutes. The Panthers answered with a 17-1 run that included two treys by Steph Falcone and one by fellow junior Kristen Burdo. SCH went more than six minutes without a field goal before freshman Emily McNesby knocked down a 15-footer with 4:24 to go in the half.
After that, SCH contested for the lead, but never regained it. A free throw by Walden got the Blue Devils within one point of their upstate opponent late in the third quarter (37-36), but over the following three-and-a-half minutes they were outscored 10-2 by the Panthers. Over the final four minutes, six-for-10 free throw shooting was enough for Perkiomen to keep the Devils at bay.
Davis finished with 13 points for SCH, which got nine apiece from Hiner and Walden. The Panthers had two scorers in double digits, Falcone (15 points), and game high scorer Jordan Barth (17), a junior forward.