GFS sophomore Desiree Norwood rises for a lay-up against Parkway Northwest’s Crystal Jones. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Behind a 14-point performance by MVP Clare Meyer, a 6’2” freshman, host Germantown Friends won the 29th annual Germantown Community Tournament last Saturday, topping Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice, 46-24.

The Tigers, who scored the first 15 points of the contest, also had sophomore Desiree Norwood (11 points) and freshman Martina Kiewek (13 points) earn All-Tournament Team status. GFS had won a Friday semifinal game over Roxborough High School, 38-19, and the team ended the weekend back at the .500 mark, at 2-2 on the season.

“It’s nice to get the wins, and to have the girls be able to transfer things we’ve been practicing into a game setting,” said third-year GFS head coach Mike Lintulahti. “We have one senior, and then we’re playing five freshmen and a sophomore, so a lot of things at the varsity level are still fairly new to most of our players.”

In the other semifinal bout in the tourney, Parkway Northwest defeated Bodine High School for International Affairs, 34-23, and in Saturday’s consolation game Roxborough downed Bodine, 36-28.

The Community Tournament has always recognized and celebrated Germantown Friends’ ties to the surrounding community, and each year at the tourney a Germantown Community Service Award is presented. The honor was shared this year by Pat Bass and Emaleigh Doley.

Bass is a former GFS faculty member who helped found the school’s Community Scholars Program and was an early advocate for victims of AIDS. Doley is the Corridor Manager for the Germantown United Community Development Corporation, and for many years she has worked with this and other organizations to help government better communicate with and serve citizens.

As the girls’ hoops action got underway on Friday, Parkway went past Bodine with the help of a 16-point performance by sophomore guard Amirah Ali, who would be named to the All-Tournament Team the following day.

In the second semifinal, GFS led 9-2 by the close of the first quarter and never looked back. The Tigers received balanced scoring from Kiewek (13 points), Meyer (12) and Norwood (11).

Claudia Rickels, a freshman for the Tigers, shoots a jumper during last Saturday’s championship game. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Throughout the tournament, games employed the 35-second shot clock that was introduced by the Friends Schools League this season. Germantown Friends’ Lintulahti was asked if he’s doing much clock management training in practice.

“We’ll scrimmage the JV boys, which gives us a chance to play live with the shot clock,” he related. “We haven’t focused a lot on it specifically; we’ve talked about situations we could face in games where the clock will be a factor.”

In Saturday’s championship game, the Tigers’ initial trip down the floor produced a lay-up for Meyer, accounting for the first two of her 10 points in the opening period. Senior Andy Regli hit a lay-up, and then Kiewek scored off a steal to put GFS up 6-0 less than three minutes into the action.

Germantown would progress to a 15-0 lead before Parkway got on the board with a three-pointer from the left wing by Ali. After Meyer banked in a short shot from the lane for her fifth field goal, Ali netted another trey for the visitors to make it 17-6 at the end of the first period.

Freshman forward Cadence Kelly joined in on the scoring for the Tigers as they attained a 24-6 advantage by the middle of the second quarter. Parkway’s Ali traded three-pointers with Kiewek, and although Ali added two points from the foul line at the very end of the half, her squad still trailed 27-11 at the break.

Ali had scored all of Parkway’s points but she also was getting into foul trouble, with three personals in the first half. She picked up her fourth and fifth fouls at the beginning of the third quarter, leaving the game just 90 seconds into the second half.

Solidifying its lead during a 15-3 third round, GFS gave all its reserve players a lot of court time the rest of the way. Parkway was able to take six points off its deficit for a 46-24 final.

Kelly ended up with four points for the winners, who received two points from Regli and two from freshman Claudia Rickels, whose twin sister Caroline also saw action.

Assessing his ball club after four games in eight days, Coach Lintulahti remarked, “I think we’re going to be a good defensive team, and we rebound the ball pretty well. We need to learn how to handle pressure and take better care of the basketball. It’s mainly a matter of building confidence through game experience, and we feel positive about this group because they work hard and they’re willing to learn.”