by Tom Utescher
In a close contest in the high school summer league at SMG Sportsplex, Mount St. Joseph Academy prevailed over Council Rock North High School last Wednesday evening, 43-41. The two ball clubs were never separated by more than seven points, and that only occurred once, early in the second half. In the first period each team led by half-a-dozen at one stage.
It was Council Rock that got out to a 7-1 lead, and then rising MSJ senior Grace DiDiovanni, who’d hit the lone free throw for the Magic, added two field goals after sophomore Lauren Vesey scored on a drive.
A three-pointer by senior Deirdre Regan then moved the Magic ahead for the first time, 10-7.
Later on, those early scorers were joined by junior Maggie Zipfel, sophomore Audrey Bryce, and forward Grace Niekelski, the only incoming freshman playing summer ball for the Mount.
With under two minutes remaining in the first half, a lay-up by DiGiovanni had the Mounties ahead 22-16, then Council Rock closed out the period with a pair of free throws to trim the gap to four points at the intermission.
As the second period got underway, three jumpers by Niekelski helped the Magic gain their largest advantage of the evening at 32-25, but two inside buckets followed by a “three” allowed the Indians to level the scoreboard at 32-all with 13 minutes left to play. Over the next few minutes a lay-up by Zipfel and a trey from near the top of the key by Regan nudged the Magic back into the lead, 37-36.
The scoring seesaw then tipped once more and C.R. North gained a 41-37 advantage with less than four minutes remaining. Bryce hit a lay-up for Mount St. Joe’s, and when DiGiovanni was fouled she cashed in on two free throws to knot the score at 41-all with 1:44 left in the contest.
It looked like this one might be headed for overtime, but Niekelski bagged a 15-footer from the left wing to make it 43-41, and Council Rock called time-out with 17 ticks on the clock. When play resumed, the Magic pared off a few more seconds by batting the ball out of bounds at the far baseline, and when the Indians’ aim was off on a pair of jump shots, the Mounties had the victory.
The young Niekelski led the Mount with 12 points, and DiGiovanni scored 11 while Regan added eight. Six points for Bryce, four for Zipfel, and two by Vesey rounded out the winners’ total.