by Tom Utescher
After the 7:00 PM round of basketball bouts in the NCAA summer league last Thursday, a number of the participants from Division I schools hung around to watch one of the late games, a showdown between two traditional league powers.
With under five minutes left to play, the Neon Green team coached by three-time Mount St. Joe parent Ted Hagedorn and featuring 2014 Mount grads Alex Louin (Villanova) and Carly Monzo (Loyola, Md.) was locked in a 43-43 tie with league leader Team Gold. Gold is coached by Keith Wood, whose daughter Ashley (Spring-Ford/Kutztown ’14) is a key player in the guard spot.
Gold is the defending league champion, while ballclubs coached by Hagedorn won the title from 2010-12, topping Wood’s team in the 2012 finals.
Snapping the late tie last Thursday, Hagedorn’s Neon Green group scored nine straight points over the next three minutes and then made it hold up for a 55-48 victory. Louin, a six-foot guard, nailed three three-point field goals in a 12-point outing, and Monzo, a small forward, finished with three points. Neon got a game-high 20 points from one of Louin’s current Villanova teammates, Meg Quinn. The 6’2” forward is a product of Episcopal Academy and was the Inter-Ac League MVP as a senior in 2013.
Two nights earlier, Team Gold had taken over sole possession of first place in the league, topping former co-leader Team Pink, 56-47. With Thursday’s setback, Gold slipped back into a tie with Pink (both 10-1), which knocked off a short-staffed Team Maroon (all West Chester University players), 97-57, in one of the 7:00 PM games on Thursday.
Neon closed to within one game of the leaders with its victory, improving to 9-2 and moving up out of a tie for third place with Maroon, which fell to 8-3.
In the effort against Neon, Team Gold received 13 points from Ashley Wood and got a game high of 15 from St. Joseph’s University sophomore forward Adashia Franklyn.
In the house, and seated next to Alex Louin’s mother, Regina, was Franklyn’s mother, heralded Temple University star Marilyn Stephens-Franklyn. A member of the Big Five Hall of Fame and designated a “Legend” by the Atlantic 10 Conference, Stephens-Franklyn was the first Temple player, male or female, to amass a career total of 2000 points, finishing up in 1983-84 with 2196 points and 1516 rebounds. One of her classmates and fellow starters at Temple was guard Carol Schultz, a Wyndmoor native whose parents opened the Antique Gallery in Chestnut Hill in 1982.
The three points that Monzo scored last Thursday were Neon Green’s first three points of the evening. After depositing a lay-up, she was fouled on a three-point attempt, and made the third of her three free throws. Neither ballclub would distinguish itself at the foul line. Neon, which had more opportunities, connected on just 39 percent of its attempts, and Gold’s aim was even worse, producing a figure of 31 percent.
The league leaders had no problem scoring from the floor at the start of the game, as Franklyn and Wood took them out to a 13-3 advantage over the first six minutes. Finally, Quinn revived Neon with a bucket off of a rebound, then she went coast-to-coast for a lay-up after cleaning the defensive boards. With 16 seconds left in the opening frame, Louin hoisted an industrial-strength three-pointer from well beyond the arc, and her squad was only three points behind (13-10) for the start of the second quarter.
Gold continued to lead as the score slowly climbed to 18-14 over the next four minutes or so, then Neon Green leapt ahead for the first time (20-18) thanks to back-to=back three-pointers by Juniata College’s Sarah Sherman and by recent Shipley School graduate Nia Holland, who is headed to Lafayette College. Team Ted was still ahead by a point going into the final minute, but Gold would take a 27-25 lead into the halftime huddle thanks to a trey by Kristalyn Baisden, who will enter St. Joe’s in September.
With just six players on hand, Gold’s absent athletes included 6’2” post player Lauren Crisler (American U.), along with guard Jasmine Elum, one of the all-time leading scorers in the Philadelphia Public League. Team Neon Green was better off, with four reserves on the bench.
When Neon would put its two 6’2” players (Quinn and Cardinal O’Hara alum Maureen Leahy) on the floor at the same time, Gold would go with four guards and create a mismatch. This did not work as well late in the game, as the half-dozen Gold girls began to tire. They also got into some foul trouble in the post, and eventually both Franklyn and Upper Dublin High School alum Danielle Derr accumulated four personals.
Still, Gold got out to a four-point advantage at the start of the third quarter before Louin reeled them in with consecutive three-pointers that nudged her team ahead, 31-29. The final minute of round three arrived with Neon leading by a single point, 40-39. Gold held the ball for the last shot of the period, which came from another Upper Dublin alum on the roster, Shira Newman. She was fouled on a successful drive, but missed the free throw, so the count was 41-40 at the three-quarter mark.
The tired teams were each missing shots from the floor as the fourth quarter unfolded, and in the first four minutes there was only a lone Quinn free throw that brought Neon even at 41-all. Wood then hit a midrange jumper for Gold, giving her squad its last lead of the game.
With five-minutes left, Neon launched what would become a decisive 11-0 run. Quinn started it off with an inside move and guard McKenzie Rule (O’Hara/St. Joseph’s) then drove the lane for a lay-up to move Neon ahead for good, 45-43. Quinn connected on a “three” from the left flank, then Neon went inside again, with Holland penetrating for a bucket.
Gold came down the floor and allowed its opponents to tie up the ball, but the possession arrow kept Gold in control. They missed a three-point attempt and Louin snagged the rebound, generating an offensive foray that ended with a fruitful baseline drive by Stipa. The tally was now 52-43 with 90 seconds to go, but hope revived for Gold with a trey from the keytop by former Peddie School player Alex Smith (Holy Cross ’14).
Gold got the ball back on a strange over-and-back call, then whiffed on a three-point attempt once more. Fouled early in the final minute, Quinn sank the second of her two tosses, then a 15-foot jumper by Team Gold’s Newman made it 53-48. The final score of 55-48 went up on the board with 33 ticks to go, when Rule was fouled and picked up both points. It was only the second time all game when a player on either team made both shots on a two-shot foul.
When Gold missed a pair of free throws 15 seconds later, they were done. Following Quinn and Louin in the victors’ scoring column were Leahy with six points and Holland with five. Stipa and Rule recorded four apiece, and three points each were credited to Monzo and Sherman.
A guard who was a year ahead of Louin at the Mount, Kelsey Jones, scored three points to help Team Black (all Philadelphia University) prevail in another Thursday game. Black delivered a 43-34 verdict against Team Purple (University of the Sciences) in a battle between two Division II teams from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, which also includes Chestnut Hill College.
Spreading the points around, Black was led by seven apiece from forwards Mary Newell (Villa Joseph Marie) and Alex Heck (Archbishop Wood). Purple picked up nine points each from former standouts in the Friends Schools League and Catholic Academies League, Colleen Walsh (Shipley) and Marissa Sylvester (Nazareth). Both teams came away with 5-6 records.
Former Springsider Michelle Boggs (’12) and a number of her current East Stroudsburg University teammates form the core of Team Sapphire Blue, which started the season at 1-4 but climbed back to 6-5 last Thursday by beating Team Kelly Green, 62-58. Boggs, a solid forward, contributed a lay-up to the tally, and other paint-oriented player, Albright College’s Emily O’Donnell, led Sapphire with 13 points.