GA senior Maddie Burns (right) shadows a C.B. East guard. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

A short-staffed Germantown Academy squad suffered its first loss in the girls’ basketball summer league in Warminster last week. After GA fell to Central Bucks East High School (also nicknamed Patriots), 42-25, the team regrouped to defeat Bensalem High School, 34-31, to come away with a 5-1 record overall.

The GA Patriots started and ended the evening with just five players. Two more arrived in the middle of the first of Wednesday’s two games, but later two girls would retire to the bench for medical reasons.

Much of GA’s regular roster was scattered about the country last week as team members played in tournaments with their AAU ballclubs. Eight athletes who’d participated in the previous summer league games were away, including three rising seniors who will be playing Division I college ball in the future.

Sophomore Lilly Funk was the only Patriot who’d played in the four games before the July 4 break. Senior Maddie Burns was on hand last week during a break in her lacrosse activities (she will be signing with Michigan for that sport). Her classmate, Lindsay Putnam, was temporarily free from work commitments, and softball sisters Sarah and Charlotte DiLello (a senior and a junior) turned out. Sophomore Alex Goodridge, who’d attended earlier games but was still recuperating from an injury, was now cleared to play.

Patriots sophomore Alex Goodridge (left) begins to drive against a defender. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

With so many players out of town, GA had a very short bench on a night when the air conditioning at the Sportsplex wasn’t functioning properly.

After Putnam scored inside for an early 2-2 tie, the Patriots slipped behind to trail 10-4 after the first nine minutes. They trimmed their deficit to a single point thanks to a layup by Burns and a three-pointer from the right wing by Funk. C.B. East pulled away again after that, netting four three’s en route to a 26-17 halftime lead. GA was unable to put together a meaningful rally in the second half.

GA got off to a better start against Bensalem, going up 7-0 with a three-pointer by Putnam, a score off a steal by Funk and a transition layup by Charlotte DiLello. The Owls rallied to tie the contest at 10-10 about eight minutes in, then the Patriots moved ahead once more with a basket from the paint by Burns and a trey by Putnam.

Scoring mostly on layups and short jumpers, Bensalem edged ahead 16-15, but toward the end of the half GA’s Burns singlehandedly outscored the Owls 6-2 to give her squad a 21-18 advantage at the break.

Bensalem kept battling and enjoyed a three-point lead midway through the second half before GA free throws tied the score at 28-all. The Pats were able to limit the Owls to three free throws the rest of the way, and received field goals from Funk, Burns and Putnam for a 34-31 victory. Burns led the winners with 13 points.