by Tom Utescher
Jefferson University’s Team Black emerged from last week’s collegiate summer league action in a strong position to clinch the top playoff seed in this Tuesday’s final round of regular season games.
When Black won in overtime (67-60) against Team Red (made up of West Chester University and Gettysburg College players), the two teams each had a record of 7-1 and Black now owned the head-to-head tiebreaker in the likely event that each team wins its final regular-season game.
Team Black would finish with an 8-1 record with a win over a 4-4 Royal Blue squad that includes Germantown Academy grad Erin Lindahl. The former Patriot couldn’t attend last Tuesday’s game, and on Thursday, her squad accepted a forfeit from a shorthanded Team Kelly Green.
Team Red will play its regular-season finale on Tuesday against Team Lime Green, which has a predominance of Chestnut Hill College players. Both of Lime’s games last week ended with scores of 61-59. The CHC athletes and their colleagues lost to Team Purple on Tuesday, but bounced back to win on Thursday over Team Orange.
Lime and Orange both came into the game with 2-5 records, so the win was important in regard to the playoff seedings. Even if the results this Tuesday were to give each team a record of 3-6, Lime Green would have the tiebreaker advantage. The top six teams in the league will not have to play on Thursday night, which is when the teams ranked seventh through 10th will vie for a place in the quarterfinal round.
Most of the early games last Tuesday evening proved to be mismatches as two of the league’s stronger teams, Black and Maroon (University of the Sciences), dispatched opponents mostly made up of Division III players.
Black broke out to a 48-20 halftime lead and defeated Team Orange, 96-42, as Alynna Williams (Plymouth Whitemarsh) bagged three three-pointers and scored 17 points and Caitlyn Cunningham (Mount St. Joseph) added eight. Team Orange consists mainly of Ursinus College athletes, but does include a 6’2″ post in Alana Davidson, who plays, fittingly, for Davidson College in North Carolina.
Cunningham’s younger sister, Lauren (Mount ’19) was enjoying a vacation week. Her Kelly Green team lost to Team Red on Tuesday and then forfeited on Thursday, as mentioned above.
Arcadia University’s Team Golden Sun had a rough go on Tuesday against Team Maroon, as the USciences bunch won 83-36 after rolling to a 42-18 halftime advantage. In the losing cause, 2018 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy grad Joelle Bridges posted five points.
The most competitive of the Tuesday tilts pitted Chestnut Hill College-fueled Team Lime Green against Team Purple, which is made up largely of current and former East Stroudsburg University players. Lime Green was weakened last week while rising sophomore guard Lauren Crim was on vacation; she’s the primary outside shooter for the team and has been the high scorer in a number of contests.
The CHC-powered Limies held slim leads at the end of each of the first two quarters, 12-11 and 31-28. Purple put up the first 10 points of the second half to lead 38-31, but by the three-quarter mark Lime Green had edged ahead once more, 44-43.
Midway through the fourth round Purple was in front, 55-51, then Lime’s Alana Cardona (Souderton/IUP) bagged a three-pointer from the right corner. During this stretch, Purple missed four free throws, but then they had former Catholic Academies player Melissa Poderis (Villa Joseph Marie) hit a baseline jumper and also score off a steal to make it 59-54 going into the final minute.
Lime Green only netted one point from four consecutive free throws, then Purple’s Poderis knocked down two foul shots for a 61-55 tally with under 30 seconds to go. Lime made it close with a baseline jumper by Brianna Cullen and a drive by Cassie Sebold, but Purple prevailed, 61-59. Cullen, Cardona and Sebold finished with 14, 12 and 10 points, respectively.
In another two-point affair a couple nights later, Lime Green and Team Orange were neck-and-neck for almost the entire game. Going into the final minute, Orange had possession of the ball and also a 59-58 edge, but then they turned the ball over.
One of the few non-CHC players for Lime, Catholic University’s Erin Doherty (Haverford High School) drove to the hoop to give her team the lead with 24 seconds left. A foul on the open floor by Orange put Lime Green in the bonus and sent CHC junior Cassie Sebold to the foul line. She made the second of her two shots to put the 61-59 final on the board with 11 seconds left, and Orange’s last possession ended with another turnover. Sebold finished with 13 points and Doherty had a game-high 21. It was a good effort all around, as CHC was missing not only Crim for this game, but Cardona as well.
This was one of the late games on Thursday, and earlier Team Black and Team Red had staged their overtime battle. With less than half-a-minute to go in regulation, Black was up 60-57. Red came down the court and missed a three-point shot but was able to chase down the rebound. With six seconds left Leah Johnson (an incoming West Chester freshman) stuck a “three” from the right corner, sending the game into OT at 60-all.
Red was not able to put any more points on the board in the three-minute overtime, though. Williams moved Black back in front with a pair of free throws, and during the last 90 seconds, senior forward Ayoola Oguntuase iced the victory with a free throw and a layup.
Williams paced the summer Rams with a game-high 19 points. Mount alum Cunningham wound up with 14, but unfortunately she left the court with an ankle injury with just over half-a-minute remaining in the fourth quarter.