by Tom Utescher
In last Tuesday evening’s NCAA Summer League action, area alums were involved in three different games that were each decided by margins of six points or less.
Team Neon Green, which has two Mount St. Joseph Academy graduates on the roster and is coached by a former Mount parent, won its contest, but not before going to overtime. Neon Green was tied up with Team Orange at 59–all at the end of the fourth quarter, then went on to prevail, 72-66, in extra time.
A Sapphire Blue bunch that includes a Springside Chestnut Hill alum also rated a “W”, edging ahead late in the fourth period of the contest to win it in regulation, 70-65.
Another former Mountie was playing with her Philadelphia University colleagues in their summer guise as Team Black. They played one of the better games of their summer campaign, but came up a little short of the defending champion, Team Gold, 61-55.
Gold scored the first five points in that game before freshman forward Erin Rafter got Black on the board, hitting a lay-up off of an assist from Kelsey Jones, a former guard at the Mount (’13). After Gold led by two points at the quarter, 13-11, the Philly U. summer squad eventually pulled even at 19-19. Senior forward Jackie McCarron hit a midrange jumper to give Team Black the lead going into the final minutes of the second period, but Gold got a basket off a steal and three free throws before the buzzer, and led 24-21 at halftime.
Black would also give up a slim lead near the end of the third quarter. Sophomore guard Rachel Day struck from the left baseline to make it 38-37 in Philly’s favor, but right at the buzzer one of her teammates fouled a three-point shooter for the opposition. Gold netted two of the resulting free throws to take a 39-38 edge into the final round.
Black made a strong start in the fourth quarter and even after Gold recovered, Black was ahead 52-51 with a little over three minutes left to play. Scoring two field goals and a free throw in succession, Gold went ahead for good. Still, Black was only down by three (55-58) early in the final minute, but then they had to foul to keep Gold from running out the clock. The league leaders tacked on their last three points from the foul line.
Gold stayed tied with Team Pink atop the standings at 8-0, while Black slipped to 3-5. Gold’s Adashia Franklin and Jasmine Elum shared the game high figure of 15 points, and McCarron led the losing cause with 11. Day and freshman guard Alynna Williams each put up eight points for Black, which got two free throws from Jones.
The encounter between Neon Green and Orange was also close most of the way, although at one point in the middle of the third quarter Orange had the margin close to double digits, leading 43-34. Neon Green was missing one of its two Villanova University players, 2014 Mount St. Joe graduate Alex Louin, but Neon still had her former MSJ classmate Carly Monzo (Loyola) available for duty.
Neon pulled back within five points by the end of the third round, 49-44, and was down by four, 59-55, with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The team’s other ‘Nova athlete, former Episcopal Academy star Meg Quinn, tied it up with a transition lay-up and a jumper from near the foul line. It was still 59-all in the final seconds of regulation play when Neon guard Sammy Stipa (Spring-Ford/Lafayette) made a great play, driving near the baseline and slipping a pass inside through the defense. The post player in the paint couldn’t hang onto the ball, though, and overtime ensued.
After Orange scored first in overtime, Quinn and Stipa each found the hoop for Neon and their team managed to remain ahead. It was a three-point affair (66-63) heading into the final minute, and at the 30-second mark Neon’s Nia Holland (Shipley/Lafayette) made the first of two free throws. Former Cardinal O’Hara post player Maureen Leahy rebounded the missed second shot and scored for Neon to make it 69-63.
Emma Dorsheimer, a recent Jenkintown High grad headed for Gettysburg, made a late “three”, but Quinn countered that by sinking three of four foul shots. She led the winners with 26 points, while Dorshimer paced Orange with 16.
Team Sapphire Blue’s Michelle Boggs was one of three basketball players who entered the old Springside School when Cardinal Dougherty High School closed in the summer of 2010. She played her junior and senior high school seasons in Chestnut Hill for before joining the program at East Stroudsburg University, which supplies many of the players for her Sapphire summer team.
Her squad went neck-and-neck through much of Tuesday’s game with Team Red, which features former Cheltenham High star Ciara Andrews (St. Joseph’s U.) and a few other NCAA Division I athletes. The teams were tied at 60-60 in the middle of the fourth quarter before Sapphire moved ahead for good. The team’s second win in a row brought it back even for the summer season with a 4-4 record. Boggs scored 10 points, and fellow forward Emily O’Donnell of Albright College led the victors with 20.