Rising freshman Rachel Balzer launches a short jump shot during Germantown Academy’s summer league victory last week. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Rising freshman Rachel Balzer launches a short jump shot during Germantown Academy’s summer league victory last week. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

With its itinerant players having returned from various out-of-town AAU and tournaments and other showcase events, Germantown Academy’s summer hoops squad was almost back at full strength for last Thursday’s game in the Gwynedd Mercy Summer League.

With only rising senior forward Lauren Oeth still away, the Patriots proved much too tough for a Wissahickon High School ball club that had to cope with current personnel shortages. GA broke out to an 18-0 lead and cruised to a 55-10 victory. Together with Tuesday’s triumph over Perkiomen Valley, Thursday’s result raised Germantown’s record to 7-1, with the lone loss coming in a contest where 10 players were missing.

Two GA guards, senior Erin Lindahl and sophomore Cat Polisano, had scored 10 points apiece to take the Pats past Perk Valley early last week, and on Thursday Lindahl put up another 10-spot to lead all scorers against Wissahickon. The points were distributed throughout the team for the victors, with a dozen different players making a mark in the scorebook.

Lindahl made the first entry with a put-back, then after a lone free throw by junior forward Lilly Bolen, Lindahl scored again off of a steal by Polisano. The GA sophomore then posted her first points by converting off an offensive rebound, and seconds later there was a steal and breakaway lay-up by senior guard Kendall Grasela, who recently committed to play for the University of Pennsylvania.

Following Lindahl’s third field goal of the night (on a short jumper), sophomore forward Alexa Naessens subbed into the game and immediately began to control the paint, scoring back-to-back buckets off of rebounds. With 10 minutes still remaining in the first half, GA sent the last players on its long bench onto the floor.

Freshman Emily Morrissey lobbed a three-pointer from the left wing, giving the Patriots an 18-0 lead before Wissahickon broke the shutout on a transition lay-up with 8:22 left in the half. Fellow ninth-grader Rachel Balzer added a lay-up later on, and although the Trojans struck from the three-point loop for a second field goal in the game, Germantown had a comfortable 26-5 lead at the intermission.

Another freshman, Shannon Topley, launched the second-half scoring with a “three” from the left flank. Later on, Balzer and Taylor Putnam each hooked up from beyond the arc, so all four GA ninth-graders ended up with a trey. The tally was 38-5 before Wissahickon scored its first points of the second half.

Close behind game high-scorer Lindahl was Naessens, with nine points, and senior guard Maeve Connor popped in a pair of three-pointers in the second half. Balzer finished with five points and Grasela and Polisano had four apiece. Each contributing three points for the Patriots were Bolen, Morrissey, Putnam, Topley and junior Jess Sheridan. Sophomore Maeve Gorman added a lay-up for the winners.

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