The Tigers’ Clare Meyer, a 6’2″ eighth-grader, hoists a lay-up during the Germantown Community Tournament. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The girls of Germantown Friends came away with a split on their home court last weekend as the school hosted its 28th annual Germantown Community Tournament.

In the semifinal round on Friday the Tigers cruised past Parkway Northwest High School for Peace & Social Justice, 34-20, then in Saturday’s championship game GFS got behind early and saw a second-half rally fall short against Bodine High School for International Affairs, which prevailed 24-20. The 1-1 tournament result gave the Tigers an overall record of 2-4 on the season, all against non-league opponents.

Under second-year skipper Mike Lintulahti, Germantown’s season voyage had begun with losses to Princeton’s Hun School, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Baldwin School, then the squad began to right the ship with a 40-18 victory over Cristo Rey High School.

In the first of Friday’s Community Tournament semifinal games, Bodine advanced with a 43-28 win over Roxborough High School.

The second semi began with a field goal by Parkway’s 6’1″ center, Shanice Boyd. After that, though, back-to-back buckets by GFS senior Maya Keren touched off a 15-0 run by the Tigers that extended into the second quarter. Eighth-grader Clare Meyer and sophomore Curran McLaughlin scored in the middle of the opening period, and the quarter ended at 10-2 after Keren converted off of an inbounds play.

The Tiger senior banked in a shot from the lane to start the second round, and her classmate Corin Grady knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner to make it 15-2 before the drought broke for Bodine thanks to a turnaround jumper by Boyd. One free throw by Bodine’s Aliyah Davis followed later on, while for Germantown Meyer scored twice off of offensive rebounds and junior Gigi Guida popped in a short jumper for a 21-5 halftime tally.

Although Parkway doubled its total in the third period thanks to a lay-up by Boyd and a three-pointer by Crystal Jones, GFS increased its lead thanks to two field goals by Keren, one from Meyer and Grady’s second “three” of the game.

Up 20 points (30-10) for the start of the final period, the Tigers were able to utilize all of their reserves while allowing their lead to shrink only slightly.

With 12 points to her credit, Germantown’s Keren shared game-high scoring honors with Parkway’s Boyd, who accounted for more than half of her team’s total output. The Tigers received eight points apiece from Grady and Meyer, four from Guida and two from McLaughlin.

The point production for GFS fell off noticeably in Saturday night’s championship game; the Tigers were led by Grady and Guida with five points apiece. On the other side, much of Bodine’s game flowed through Keyanah Price, a 5’8″ senior guard with a nice shooting touch and the strength to function as a power forward in the paint. At crucial moments GFS was unable to stop her, and she finished with a game-high 15 points.

GFS junior Andy Regli (left) and sophomore Tsega Afessa (right) contest a rebound with Parkway Northwest players, including Shaila Miller (#44). (Photo by Tom Utescher)

The Ambassadors’ standout contributed two lay-ups and a mid-range jumper to an 8-0 opening run for her squad. A short jumper from the lane by McLaughlin got the home team started, and after sophomore guard Tsega Afessa added a lay-up later on, the first quarter closed with Bodine leading 9-4.

The Tigers would call two time-outs in the second period, as the Ambassadors tacked on three more field goals to make it 15-4. Grady got GFS into a better position by the end of the half, though, sinking a baseline jumper from the left side and then a three-point field goal from the right. Bodine’s Price had 10 points in the book at the intermission, when her team still led, 15-9.

Germantown’s Guida, who struggled with her outside shooting in the first half, recovered her form and got the Tigers going in the third quarter with a 15-footer from the right wing. The score remained 15-11 for several minutes, then Price netted a “three” from the top of the key and Bodine teammate Sabriyah Graham scored on a weak-side put-back, making it 20-11.

Keren came up big for the Tigers in the final half-minute of the third period, scoring off of an inbounds play and then driving the lane for a lay-up that set the count at 20-15 heading into the fourth quarter.

A fired-up home crowd now saw the rest of a 9-0 run unfold. Right at the beginning of the final period, Guida lobbed in a trey from the right flank, and later Meyer followed in a teammate’s missed shot to tie the game at 20-20.

Now it was Bodine that called a time-out with 5:46 remaining. It was the Ambassadors’ go-to player, Price, who penetrated through the lane for a lay-that would prove to be the game-winner. A little later, Bodine remained two points ahead as the Tigers were unable to cash in on a pair of free throws.

Both teams missed field goal attempts, and early in the final minute GFS started up the floor on offense but turned the ball over on a pass out-of-bounds. Bringing the ball back down on the right wing, Bodine found Graham open on the weak side for an easy lay-up that tacked the 24-20 final tally on the board with 26 seconds left.

The subsequent GFS possession also ended in a turnover, and Bodine became the 2017 tournament champion.

Following Guida and Grady in the Tigers’ scoring column were Keren with four points and McLaughlin, Meyer and Afessa with two apiece. Grady was named to the all-tournament team along with Graham, Parkway’s Boyd and Roxborough High’s Shanelle Wright. Price was picked as the tournament MVP.