by Tom Utescher
In their final home court appearance, the girls of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy advanced past the first round of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournament last Friday, topping 10th-seeded Hill School, 47-40.
The seventh-seeded Blue Devils led by a single point after three quarters, then pulled away in the fourth period as Joelle Bridges came on for seven points and her senior classmate Nya Seawright scored six in the final frame.
Searight finished with 17 points, sharing that game-high total with Hill’s Alexa Giacche. Bridges came away with 12 points, and juniors Mo’ne Davis and Caroline Clark contributed nine and seven points, respectively. Senior Destiny Rogers provided the other two points for SCH, which improved to 14-10 overall.
Earlier last week, the Blue Devils ended their Inter-Ac League campaign with a 40-31 victory over Baldwin School. On the same afternoon, Episcopal Academy lost to Germantown Academy, so SCH and EA wound up in a tie for third place, with 7-5 records and a split in their two head-to-head games.
Undefeated GA won the championship, the Academy of Notre Dame was second at 8-4, and in fifth through seventh place were Penn Charter (5-7), Baldwin (2-10) and Agnes Irwin (1-11). In the middle of the week the All-Inter-Ac selections were announced, with the Blue Devils’ Davis among those named to the First Team.
Hill School, which had finished third in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League, ended its season at SCH on Friday with an overall mark of 9-11.
With point production from four different players, Springside Chestnut Hill came out of the opening quarter with a 10-6 advantage. Early in the second round, a pair of three-point field goals by Bridget Mayza pulled the Lady Rams back even at 12-12.
Davis hit a free throw to return the lead to the Blue Devils, and she followed up with two successful drives to the hoop. A fast break bucket by Searight, a three-pointer by Bridges and three-for-four foul-shooting by Clark helped SCH attain a 25-19 halftime lead.
The Blue Devils had enjoyed the foul double-bonus for almost the last two minutes of the second quarter.
As the third period got underway, Davis and Searight lifted the lead into double figures for SCH (29-19), but over the last five minutes of the quarter Hill went to work on the inside and staged a 13-4 rally. This left the Blue Devils clinging to a 33-32 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
Then, SCH turned the tables on the Lady Rams, clamping down on defense and putting together a 9-2 run. After Bridges bagged a free throw and Searight found the basket from the paint, Hill got its two points on a lay-up by Giacche. Searight scored again on the interior, then Davis fed the ball ahead to Bridges for a fast break lay-up.
Bridges struck again on a baseline drive, putting the Blue Devils up 42-34 with under four minutes to go. Hill never got closer than six points after that. SCH got into the double bonus in the final minute, and the visitors had one of their starting forwards foul out of the game.
UPDATE – The following morning the curtain came down on the 2017-18 season for Springside Chestnut Hill with a 48-31 loss to the second seed in the PAIS tournament, Abington Friends School. Seniors Bridges and Searight scored nine points apiece for SCH (14-11 overall). Way back on December 2, the Blue Devils defeated the AFS Kangaroos, 53-40.