An opposing forward (with ball) tries to figure out a way around an incoming freshman for GA, Kendall Bennett. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Last Wednesday. the Germantown Academy girls performed in the second installment of their summer basketball league series, and aside from the fact that only seven players were on hand, GA didn’t look anything like a team that was on vacation.

Appearing fit and focused, the Patriots overcame two teams with deeper benches to improve their record to 4-0 at the Sportsplex in Warminster. In both contests, GA pulled away in the second half, just when it should have been GA that was wearing down. The Pats first dispatched Central Bucks South, 72-26, then registered a 53-31 victory over a St. Basil Academy squad that went 26-1 last winter.

With various other commitments conflicting with the summer hoops regime, most teams can’t muster their entire regular-season lineups on a given night, and GA was playing without half-a-dozen talented guards and forwards.

First, GA went out to an 8-0 lead against C.B. South with early offense from three rising seniors. Elle Stauffer sandwiched two baskets from the paint around a three-pointer by Maddie Vizza, then a third classmate, Jaye Haynes, added a free throw before Central Bucks got on the board.

Stauffer displayed her usual athleticism, while Vizza was masterful at point guard, scoring inside and out and also assisting her teammates. Haynes showed her scrappiness by diving on the floor a number of times in both games to go after loose balls. Although C.B. South is nicknamed the Titans, the height in this contest was definitely on GA’s side, with the likes of six-foot Jessica Moore and 6’2″ Becca Booth (both juniors) and 6’3″ incoming freshman Kendall Bennett. Alert and aggressive defense was played by sophomore guard Lilly Funk, who piled up a number of steals steals during the evening.

After GA’s initial burst, C.B. South got back in it with a “three” and a baseline jumper to make it 8-5, but then the Patriots pulled away smartly with three-pointers by Stauffer and Vizza and three scores in transition by Haynes. A midrange jumper by Vizza and a breakaway lay-up by Moore had the Patriots up 24-5 with nine minutes still remaining in the first half.

Six-foot junior forward Jessica Moore is just one example of the height and reach Germantown Academy can deploy against its rivals. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

With three three-pointers of their own, the Titans got back within 13 by the intermission, when the tally was 33-20.

A few minutes into the second period, the gap had increased slightly to 15 points (39-24). The rest of the way, however, C.B. South only added two more points on a pair of free throws, and prior to that, GA had broken the game open with a 13-0 run. This surge included five straight points from Bennett on a pair of converted rebounds and a free throw.

The freshman’s five points in the contest were matched by Moore, while Funk came away with six points. The winners had four players score in double figures: Stauffer (18), Haynes (14), Booth (12) and Vizza (12). Booth deposited 10 of her 12 in the second half.

In their next game, it would take the Patriots longer to shake free of St. Basil’s. While the GA defense contained six-foot forward Denae Carter on the inside, the Panthers had several different guards combine for five three-point field goals in the first half.

The last of three leads for St. Basil came with around six minutes left in the period, when the count was 15-14 in favor of the Catholic Academies ball club. GA then had Booth score from paint and saw Funk convert off of a steal. Late in the half, treys by Vizza and Stauffer helped the Patriots take a 25-19 edge into the halftime break.

Tightening up their defense in the second half, the Pats were quicker to step out on the St. Basil perimeter shooters, and they held the Panthers to a total of 12 points during the second half. With GA getting three-point production of its own from Haynes, Stauffer and Vizza, the score had spread out to 38-21 when the Basilians called timeout just over six minutes into the period.

Later, GA’s lead peaked at 53-29 before the Panthers put in the final field goal of the night. Vizza scored 12 of her game-high 17 points in the second half, which is when Stauffer posted nine of her 13. Haynes had 12 points and Booth had four, with three points added by Moore and two apiece coming from Bennett and Funk.