by Tom Utescher
With some club basketball tournaments in progress and the off-week of July 4 approaching, neither Germantown Academy nor Penn Charter were close to full strength for their basketball games in the Gwynedd Mercy summer league last week.
Penn Charter had to make do without a couple of regular starters and several experienced subs. The roster was even more limited for GA, which fielded four rising freshmen and a total of just six players on Tuesday, and three of the ninth-graders and two juniors on Wednesday evening.
In back-to-back contests on Tuesday, PC fell to Boyertown High School, 42-20, and then overcame GA, 49-42. The Patriots’ second game of the week was on Wednesday, when they lost, 41-27, to the Monarchs of league host Gwynedd Mercy Academy.
Against Boyertown on Tuesday, PC sophomore Molly Monahan broke the ice with a three pointer, and later on a free throw by sophomore Laila Hamiter and a 15-footer by senior Emma Maley had Charter only a point behind (6-7) in a low-scoring initial nine minutes. After that, though, a three-pointer by Maley was all the Quakers would get the rest of the first half, and Boyertown had PC doubled up at the break, 18-9.
Junior guard Carmen Williams arrived late in the first half after a long rush-hour ride from her New Jersey home. She would score four points in the second half, and Charter also got a three-pointer from junior forward Haley Hunt, another late arrival (from lacrosse practice) who played the last few minutes of the game.
Hamiter and sophomore Jamie Kubach each hit a lay-up in the second half, but overall the Quakers were outscored 24-11 by the Bears during the period.
Penn Charter would have Williams and Hunt for the entirety of the GA game that followed, and they would lead the Quakers with 18 and 11 points, respectively.
After Maley opened the proceedings with a “three” from the right wing, it was GA freshman Lilly Funk (out of Cedarbrook Middle School) who moved into the spotlight with a three-pointer and two successful drives. Funk’s classmate Alex Goodridge had also scored on a drive, then after PC’s Monahan had a trey answered in kind by Patriots sophomore Charlotte DiLello, Germantown led 12-6.
Williams started a 10-0 PC run with a short jumper in transition, then triples by Hunt and Monahan and a lay-up by Kubach gave the Quakers a 16-12 lead.
Late in the half GA was only three points behind, but at the end incoming Charter freshman Maddie Shoup (St. Philip Neri School) stole the ball and passed it ahead to Hunt for a breakaway bucket that made it 22-17 at the intermission.
PC posted the first six points of the second half before freshman Bri O’Hara got GA’s side of the scoreboard moving with a field goal. With some fluctuation, the Quakers’ lead remained around the 10-point level through the middle of the period, and they were up by a dozen (43-31) with under five minutes remaining.
Germantown’s final run began with a transition lay-up and a three pointer by sophomore Charlotte DiLello. Early in the final minute, junior Lindsay Putnam stuck a “three” from the top of the key to make it 43-39. Shoup scored in transition for the Quakers, then the Patriots got within three points of the leaders (45-42) as Putnam struck from the three-point loop on the right wing with 24 seconds to go.
GA now had to foul the Quakers, though, and Williams hit both shots of a one-and-one to make it a five-point game. After PC’s Hunt stole the ball from GA the next time down the floor, Williams was fouled again, and from the free throw line she rang the last two points of the game with eight seconds to play.
After Williams and Hunt, the next players in the winners’ scoring column were Monahan, with six points, and Hamiter and Kubach, with four apiece. Putnam (15 points) and DiLello (13) paced the Patriots, who received seven points from Funk and four from Goodridge.
For more than a dozen minutes in Wednesday’s GA-Gwynedd game the scoreboard crawled along as both teams missed a lot of field goal attempts, including many lay-ups. GA was four points behind heading into the final minute of the period, then the Monarchs scored twice in transition for an 18-10 halftime advantage.
With no subs available for GA, Gwynedd wisely played an up-tempo game on both offense and defense. The Monarchs pushed their lead into double figures as the second half unfolded, then Germantown made a move in the middle of the period. Putnam popped in a pair of three-pointers and then scored on a drive to get the Pats within six (29-23) with 9:10 to go.
A three-point bucket by GMA sophomore Kaylie Griffin (who was a classmate of DiLello’s at St. Philip’s) helped the host team regain some traction, and down the stretch the Monarchs drove their lead to new heights, winning by 14 as Griffin finished with a dozen points. GA got 15 from Putnam and 10 from junior Maddie Burns.