by Tom Utescher
After suffering a 40-32 loss to visiting Agnes Irwin in last Wednesday’s Inter-Ac League hoops contest, the girls of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy no longer had any room for error if they hoped to equal last season’s 5-7 finish in league competition.
That figure had netted the Blue Devils fifth place in the final 2013-14 standings of the seven–team league. After their setback against the Irwin Owls last week this year’s Devils, at 1-7 in the league and 9-9 overall, would have to win all four of their remaining league games in order to equal their finish last season. The only home game out of the four is a rematch with league co-leader Germantown Academy.
Springside Chestnut Hill’s lone Inter-Ac victory was actually a quality win over third-place Penn Charter, but the Blue Devils haven’t fared as well within the trio of teams that are struggling to stay out of the league basement. Last Wednesday’s loss gave Irwin (2-6 league) a season sweep over the locals, and Baldwin won its first meeting with SCH, which was officially the “home” game of the series for the Devils, but which took place in the Play-By-Play Classic at Philadelphia University. Baldwin had also beaten Agnes Irwin in their first encounter.
The second SCH-Irwin game was tied 14-14 at the half, and each side doubled its total over the next 13 minutes to reach a 28-all deadlock with three minutes remaining in the contest. Enjoying the foul bonus for the final three minutes, the Owls would shoot six-for-six from the line and outscore their hosts 12-4 overall.
SCH junior Essence Walden did the majority of her scoring in the first half and eighth-grader Mo’ne Davis accumulated most of her points after the intermission, leading their squad with 11 points apiece.
The pair accounted for all but two of their team’s points during the first half. After Irwin went ahead 5-0 on a lay-up by senior Cece Corbett, a baseline jumper by freshman Alex Blomstrom, and a free throw by senior Steph Williams, SCH’s Walden began to draw fouls with slashes to the basket. She would go six-for-six from the charity stripe during the first half.
Davis made two successful drives toward the hoop, pulling up for a little jumper, and then going all the way in for a lay-up. The only other scorer in the first two periods was junior Lindsay Hiner (four points total). Up 8-6 at the quarter, Irwin looked to take a two-point lead into halftime, as well, but just before the buzzer Walden knocked down a 12-footer to create a 14-14 tie.
After sophomore Chloe Burns scored inside to nudge SCH ahead three minutes into the third period, Corbett and fellow seniors Lauren Spinelli and Jolie Jemmott powered the Owls to a 22-16 lead with a little over two minutes to go in the third round. Davis stepped up with a three-pointer and a lay-up for the Blue Devils, closing the score up to 22-21 for the start of the fourth quarter.
Delaney Sweitzer, another SCH eighth-grader, deposited a free throw and a transition lay-up in the early minutes of the final period. During this same stretch, Walden also posted one field goal and one free throw to help give the home team a 27-24 advantage with 4:42 left to play.
For almost four minutes after that, though, the Blue Devils added just a lone free throw by Burns to their total, while the visitors surged in front, 36-28. The teams then traded points as the clock ran down. Corbett led Agnes Irwin (2-6, 5-12) with a game-high 13 points and Spinelli came away with 11 while Blomstrom added eight.