by Tom Utescher
The summer hoops squads from Germantown Academy and Penn Charter both saw double-digit leads disappear in their games last Tuesday in the Gwynedd Mercy League, but each squad managed to hang on for a victory.
GA needed a three-point field goal by junior guard Shannon Topley to overcome Boyertown High School in sudden-death double overtime, 30-27, while PC prevailed in regulation against Central Bucks West, 36-32.
Boyertown scored first in the GA game, but a lay-up and free throw by senior Alexa Naessens and a transition basket by sophomore Elle Stauffer pushed the Patriots ahead. From there, the Pats progressed with balanced scoring. Sophomores Jaye Haynes, Caitlyn Priore, and Sarah DiLello and incoming freshman Jessica Moore all found the basket for GA, and when Naessens converted off an offensive rebound with six-and-a-half minutes left in the first half, the Patriots led 17-6.
Boyertown soon got back in it with a 6-0 run, but Germantown had the last word in the opening period, getting a late lay-up on a baseline drive by DiLello to enjoy a 19-12 halftime lead.
The pace of the scoring slowed significantly in the second half, and Boyertown was limited to a single free throw for more than 14 minutes. A field goal and two free throws by Naessens and a lay-up by freshman Becca Booth had GA ahead 25-13 at this point.
With just over five minutes remaining, the Bears began to rally by finishing off a traditional three-point play. Among the players GA was missing for this contest were sophomore guards Maddie Vizza and Maddie Burns, and the Patriots turned the ball over a number of times when pressed by Boyertown.
Still, the Pats could’ve held off the Boyertown if they hadn’t missed a number of close shots from the paint. As it was, GA didn’t score at all after taking the aforementioned 25-13 lead. The Bears actually had a chance to win the game from the foul line with three seconds left, but after their first free throw went in to tie the contest at 25-all, the second shot missed.
A heave by Stauffer from just over half court sent the ball bouncing up off the rim and then down through the cylinder, but she’d launched her shot just after the buzzer. In a two-minute overtime, Boyertown went ahead with a lay-up about halfway through, then Stauffer’s put-back of a teammate’s shot tied the game again, 27-27.
A sudden death session followed. GA came down on offense and got a pass inside to Naessens. Well-defended, she wisely chose to pass the ball back outside to Topley on the right wing, and the junior’s three-point shot decided the issue. Naessens led the victors with nine points and DiLello and Stauffer each finished with four. There were three points apiece for Topley, Haynes, and Priore, and two each for Booth and Moore.
For most of the first half of the following game, Penn Charter lit up Central Bucks West from the three-point line. Sophomore guard Lizzie McLaughlin struck three times from beyond the arc, and two more treys came from junior Emma Maley and one from middle schooler Kelsey Bess.
Scoring on the inside was provided by sophomores Kait Carter, Troi Rutherford, and Carmen Williams, and by freshman Laila Hamiter.
C.B. West’s highly regarded sophomore guard, Maddie Burke, created many shots for herself throughout the game but didn’t convert a lot of them. After PC held a 29-11 lead with seven minutes left in the first half, it was West’s defense that would play a major role in getting Bucks back in the game.
Reducing its deficit to a dozen points by halftime, 32-20, West would limit the Quakers to four points throughout the second half, but those four points would be enough for a PC victory.
For much of the second period, the only addition to Charter’s side of the scoreboard came on an early baseline shot by Bess. With 90 seconds left to play, the Bucks were within two points, 34-32.
Hamiter, the incoming freshman, made a couple of key plays for the Quakers. First, she netted a jumper from the right baseline to lever the lead back out to four points. Next, she grabbed the rebound of a missed three-point shot by Central Bucks.
PC ended up turning the ball over, but after a lay-up by the Bucks refused to fall, Charter called time-out with 28 seconds left and then was able to drain down the clock for a victory.
Nine points by McLaughlin, seven by Bess, and six by Maley led the way, with Hamiter adding five points and Carter contributing four. Williams had three points and Rutherford chipped in two for the Quakers.