GA senior Leena Kardacz (left) rumbles with a rival from Lansdale Catholic in summer league action last week.  (Photo by Tom Utescher)

GA senior Leena Kardacz (left) rumbles with a rival from Lansdale Catholic in summer league action last week.  (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

When the national-level girls basketball tournaments start appearing on the calendar at the end of June, attendance in local summer leagues often takes a hit.

That’s what happened to Germantown Academy in the Gwynedd Mercy Summer League last week, when the Patriots suffered their first loss of the summer campaign. The Patriots trailed by a dozen points in the second half of Tuesday’s tilt with Lansdale Catholic. They came back in the final minutes, but still fell to the Crusaders, 40-35.

Many of GA’s top college prospects were appearing before recruiters at U.S. Junior Nationals Premier Invitational events in Hampton, Va. and Cincinnati, Ohio, along with Blue Chip Basketball’s Spooky Nook tournament in central Pennsylvania. For the game at Gwynedd, the Pats were missing 10 players off of their summer roster, including all five of the regular starters.

Rising sophomore guard Cat Polisano, who would lead all scorers with 20 points, arrived late and did not enter the game until the clock showed 8:41 remaining in the first of the 20-minute (running clock) halves. At that juncture, GA was down 11-4, with its early points coming on a short jumper from the lane by senior Leena Kardacz and a pair of free throws by freshman Taylor Putnam.

Five Polisano points and a lay-up by junior Jess Sheridan had the Pats back within four points of the leaders late in the half, but an LC

buzzer-beater from the three-point loop made it 18-11 at the break.

Sheridan started the second half with another lay-up for Germantown, but GA was limited to just one more field goal over the next 12 minutes as the Lansdale lasses stretched the score to 31-19. At least GA had gotten four points from the foul line from Polisano, who shot nine-for-10 from the stripe during the game.

After going down by a dozen, the Patriots received a “three” from Polisano and began to revive. Lansdale still led by seven (35-28) when it called a time-out with 1:28 remaining in the game, but when play resumed Kardacz drilled a three-pointer from the left wing and Putnam stuck a jumper from the right edge of the foul line. This made it a two-point affair, 35-33, with the clock now dipping into the final minute.

In a key rebounding sequence with 48 seconds left, LC missed the front end of a one-and-one at the foul line but got the ball back off of the miss. GA was forced to foul again, and this time the Crusaders cashed in with two “makes” at the stripe.

With under half-a-minute left, Lansdale pretty much sealed the victory by stealing the ball off the Pats and going in for a lay-up to make it 39-33. Polisano hit one last lay-up, then LC completed the final score with a lone free throw.

Kardacz, Sheridan, and Putnam finished with six, five, and four points, respectively. Forming the rest of GA’s seven-player contingent were sophomore Maeve Gorman and freshmen Tai Humphrey and Emily Morrissey.