by Tom Utescher
Last Saturday’s basketball game at Agnes Irwin School didn’t have any championship implications within the Inter-Ac league, but a victory would be valuable to the host Owls and visiting Springside Chestnut Hill Academy as both squads tried to secure at least a sixth-place finish among the seven girls’ teams in the mix.
Just ahead of those two ball clubs was Baldwin School, which had lost to Germantown Academy, Penn Charter, Notre Dame and Episcopal, but had won its initial meetings with both SCH and Irwin in the middle of January.
On Saturday, SCH senior Kara Kniezewski started out with a hot hand, opening the game with a three-pointer from the left wing and adding two more treys and two free throws in the opening quarter as the Blue Devils assumed a 13-9 lead. Kniezewski, a Norwood Fontbonne Academy graduate who has been accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy, never cooled off, leading the visitors to a 66-43 victory and coming away with nine three-pointers and 29 total points. SCH, which had topped the Owls 51-33 back on Jan. 11, improved to 2-6 in the Inter-Ac and 8-13 overall with Saturday’s outcome.
Irwin senior Katie Anderson shared game-high scoring honors with 29 points of her own, but her supporting cast was not nearly as productive as Springside Chestnut Hill’s. The Owls slipped to an 0-8 league record.
Thanks to Anderson, who scored all of her team’s points in the first quarter, the hosts had a 6-5 lead a few minutes into the contest, and a little later the teams were tied at 8-8 before the Blue Devils went ahead for good.
With less than two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second quarter, SCH was leading 25-16 when Irwin’s Kelly Cooper hit a mid-range jumper from the right flank to become the first Owl besides Anderson to score in the game.
Blue Devils eighth-grader Ava Chavez had gotten the scoreboard rolling in the period by burying a trey from the left corner in the first 30 seconds. She would make another three-pointer and a pair of lay-ups later on in the second quarter, finishing the half with 10 of her 11 total points already in the book.
Kniezewski had 17 points and AI’s Anderson had 18 at the intermission, when SCH led 34-22. The Blue Devils’ point guard, senior Mo’ne Davis, realized that her team didn’t need her to score a bunch in this contest, so she chipped in with four points in each half and was content to play the role of wise and efficient floor general.
The freshman post player for the visitors, Layla Sawyer, scored one lay-up in the first half and then put up six points in the second half. In addition, Katie Reagan recorded five of her six total points during the last two quarters, and her junior classmate Becca Arnold scored all of her four points after halftime.
Kniezewski, of course, just kept churning out points, piling on another dozen during the third and fourth quarters. The Blue Devils took a 55-37 advantage into the final frame, and then both teams cruised through an 11-6 fourth quarter.
AI’s Anderson had entered the game needing 57 points to hit 1,000 for her career, and afterward seemed certain to reach that milestone in another game or two. The Owls received six points from M.G. Miller, three from Liz McNulty, two apiece from Cooper and Paige Crowther and one from Amelia Leyden.