Kristin Lucas (left), a rising sophomore at Mount St. Joseph Academy, battles for position in the paint against a rival from Neumann-Goretti High School. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

While most summer basketball leagues are operated at indoor facilities these days, the Lou Cappiella League soldiers on in Roxborough at the open air court at Kendrick Recreation Center. This summer, though, longtime member Mount St. Joseph Academy finds itself one of just four teams participating.

The Magic won their league opener against Radnor High School, on June 17, but exactly a week later the Mounties had their two-year unbeaten streak ended by Neumann-Goretti High School. Down by 10 points at halftime, the two-time defending champs made a run at the Saints early in the second period, but the South Philly franchise pulled away again to win 31-22.

On this particular night, even the Cappiella competition took place indoors, thanks to strong thunderstorms that began to roll through the area during the afternoon. The action shifted to Kendrick’s vintage gymnasium, where spectators sitting on benches right up against the walls found themselves still toeing the boundary line of the court itself.

The Magic started rising senior Gen Hagedorn, juniors Emily Carpenter and Mary Kate Ulasewicz, and sophomores Libby Tacka and Sarah Wills. All were members of the varsity squad last winter, and Tacka worked her way into a starting role.

Coming off the bench were four members of the 2012-13 junior varsity, junior Alaina Hunt, and sophomores Kristen Lucas, M.K. Maloney, and Caitlin Morrissey.

Hagedorn was the only one of the team’s four rising seniors to make the scene at Kendrick Rec Center.

Two other members of the Magic’s Class of 2014 recently made verbal commitments to Division I schools. Highly-recruited six-foot guard Alex Louin, actively pursued by programs as prominent as Stanford University, choose one of her earliest suitors, Villanova University and head coach Harry Perretta. Louin’s mother, Regina, attended Villanova, and Louin’s choice of a local school will allow her grandmother, Betty, a huge fan, to keep on attending her games on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Carly Monzo, a 5’10” forward, also picked a college that had been interested in her for quite some time, Maryland’s Loyola University.

A Flourtown resident, Monzo was a multi-sport athlete in the Penn Charter middle school before switching over to the Mount as a ninth-grader. Monzo also played grade school basketball for the CYO team at St. Philip Neri in Lafayette Hill. Her older bother Tom, who went all the way through Penn Charter, is a rising sophomore at Stony Brook University, where he received a lacrosse scholarship.

Another athlete about to enter the senior class at the Mount, Colleen Steinmetz, was the first forward to come in off the bench last winter. She was also absent last Monday, and overall the gaps in the line-up put the Magic at a size disadvantage against Neumann-Goretti.

At the outset, neither team could make friends with the basketball rims in the little gym, but finally the 0-0 stalemate was broken by a lone Neumann Goretti free throw, which wandered into the cylinder with only 11:11 remaining in the first half. The first two field goals also belonged to the Saints, then the Magic broke the ice at the other end thanks to a lay-up and free throw by Hagedorn with 9:50 on the clock.

Penetrating to the hoop for most of its scoring, Neumann Goretti increased its lead to 18-8 by halftime. The second period opened with MSJ buckets by Ulasewicz and Wills, then the Saints nipped the potential rally in the bud. The gap between the teams hovered at or a little below 10 points the rest of the way, and there was a nine-point final margin.

The Mounties did spread their scoring around, as Hagedorn, Carpenter, Lucas and Morrissey each finished with four points, and Wills, Ulasewicz, and Tacka scored two points apiece. The Saints’ Bre Hoffman led all scorers, with nine points for the night. Former first-team All-American and Immaculata star Letty Santarelli (’86) is heading into her second season as head coach at Neumann-Goretti.

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