Penn Charter junior Emma Maley starts to swing the ball behind her back to elude an Ursuline defender. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Last Sunday girls’ basketball teams from Germantown Academy, Mount St. Joseph, Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill were all in action on the courts of Jefferson University.

Between them, the four schools went 2-2 at the Play By Play Maggie Lucas Classic, named after the former GA star and current WNBA guard.

Lucas’ alma mater fared well, rolling past Bonner Prendergast Catholic High School, 63-38, and in a closer contest Penn Charter maintained focus and topped Delaware’s Ursuline Academy, 48-38.

The other two ballclubs struggled, though, Mount St. Joe bowing, 58-41, to the Academy of Notre Dame, while SCH was dealt an 81-45 defeat by Council Rock North High School.

The Mount Magic were up first, and at the outset they looked like they were still warming up while Notre Dame’s engine was already up to full operating temperature. Forcing turnovers out of the Mounties from the get-go, the Irish sprinted to a 12-0 lead before a drive by freshman Grace Niekelski got the Magic on the scoreboard.

Mount St. Joseph trailed 36-21 at the half, and Notre Dame cruised the rest of the way, propelled by a pair of junior guards.

Niekelski finished with 10 points for the Mount and sophomore Lauren Vesey had a team-high 13 for the Magic, who emerged 8-4 overall. Notre Dame improved to 8-6 as head coach Mary Beth McNichol, now in her 27th season with the Irish, recorded her 500th victory. Maggie Pina, a transfer from Archbishop Carroll, chalked up a game-high 31 points, and Mandy McGurk contributed 18 for the winners.

Penn Charter was next up on the same court, facing Ursuline. The Quakers came in with a record of 7-8, while their Delaware rivals were 4-5. Charter would be the team to make it back to the .500 mark, gaining a 10-8 edge in the first quarter and opening the lead up to 10 points by the half (26-16).

Ursuline was back within eight at the three-quarter mark, and was down by just seven (41-34) midway through the fourth quarter. PC took an eight-point advantage into the final minute, though, and junior guard Emma Maley scored on a drive and went two-for-three at the free throw line to help ice the win.

Mount St. Joseph sophomore Taylor Sistrunk protects the ball from a Notre Dame forward. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

With 16 points, the Quakers’ Kait Carter tied for game high honors with Allison Olmstead of Ursuline, and another Charter sophomore, Carmen Williams, was close behind with 15.

Earlier in the week, the GA Patriots had picked up a pair of Inter-Ac League victories, but in between those games they lost to Archbishop Carroll. On Saturday they faced another Philadelphia Catholic League team, Bonner Prendergast, which arrived with a 5-0 mark within the PCL and a 9-3 record overall.

Germantown charged to a 25-11 advantage at the quarter and a 41-20 lead at the half.

Midway through the third frame, the Pandas had worked their way back within 11 points, 44-33, but then the Patriots got back on the gas and came away with a 25-point victory. They improved to 14-4 overall as sophomore Jaye Haynes turned in 15 points and senior Cat Polisano produced 13. Nyah Garrison led Bonner Prendie with 14 points.

Toward the middle of the afternoon, the SCH Blue Devils faced a Council Rock North team that had an identical overall record of 8-4, but two of the Indians’ losses had come in the traditionally tough field at the annual holiday tournament in Naples, Fla.

SCH quickly fell behind, 10-2, and things didn’t get better after that. Rock North was ahead 28-6 before Blue Devils junior Caroline Clark closed the first quarter with a three-point field goal. The tally was 53-25 at halftime, and the Bucks County club would win by 36 points.

SCH senior Nya Searight, a powerful forward and already a 1000-point scorer as a junior, was home in bed with a fever. This was a particular disadvantage for the Blue Devils against a Rock North squad that had good size in the paint.

However, it was one of the smallest players on the court, CRN senior guard Becca Margolis, who notched the game high of 26 points. Clark scored 14 to lead Springside Chestnut Hill, which received 11 points apiece from senior Destiny Rogers and junior Mo’ne Davis.