GA’s Maddie Vizza (left) demonstrates a behind-the-back crossover dribble during last week’s summer league finale. The senior point guard hit eight three-point field goals in the Patriots’ two victories. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

With most of its players having returned from various AAU tournaments during the second week of July, Germantown Academy closed out its 2019 summer season last Wednesday with a pair of victories at the Warminster Sportsplex.

Both opponents put up a good fight, but the Patriots were able to overcome Neshaminy High School, 57-46, and Archbishop Ryan, 51-24.

GA went 7-1 throughout the summer session, its lone loss coming against Central Bucks East on July 10, when many of the Patriots were at the aforementioned out-of-town tourneys. Last week just about everybody was back, although one of several players missing was senior Jaye Haynes, who will play for La Salle University.

Senior Maddie Burns, who will sign with Michigan for lacrosse, got GA on the board against Neshaminy. The Redskins would keep close to the Patriots for the first dozen minutes of the game, when the count was 15-11.

The Pats opened things up after that, starting with an inside score by junior center Becca Booth, a three-pointer by senior point guard Maddie Vizza (committed to Northeastern University), and a baseline jumper by junior forward Jessica Moore. Kendall Bennett, a 6’3″ freshman, hit a layup, and senior Elle Stauufer (Harvard) scored in transition and sank a free throw awarded on the play.

Stauffer came on late in each half as she accumulated 15 points. Booth also finished with 15, displaying some strong moves in the paint and also hauling down numerous rebounds. She would score more field goals in the second game of the evening, but in the first contest she was often fouled by the Redskins, going seven-for-eight at the free throw line in the second half alone. Her young counterpart in the post, Bennett, appeared sure-handed with the ball down low, and continued to show promise.

GA junior center Becca Booth scored off of some strong inside moves in two games last Wednesday, ringing up a total of 31 points. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Neshaminy had its deficit back down in single digits with five minutes to go, but Stauffer and Booth gave GA more breathing room, and GA led 57-43 before Neshaminy canned a trey at the end of the game. Vizza came away with three three-pointers and a total of 11 points, while Moore scored nine points, lobbing on one “three” in the second half.

As the bout against Archbishop Ryan got underway, Vizza immediately connected from the three-point loop, and she would go on to accumulate all of her 15 points on five three-pointers in the first half. As usual, she ran the offense from the point and helped set up her teammates with fine passing.

Booth registered a team-high 16 points, this time with six field goals on the inside outweighing four free throws.

Ryan knocked down some early treys to enjoy an 11-10 edge midway through the first half, then GA went ahead with Vizza and Booth leading the offense. After Ryan called timeout with 50 seconds left in the first half and GA leading 26-17, the Ragdolls picked up a pair of free throws to make it 26-19 at the break.

At the dawn of the second half, Ryan got even closer, 28-24, then GA gained some separation with a 7-2 run that featured two scores close to the basket by Booth and a layup and free throw by Burns. Ryan hit a jumper, then GA’s Stauffer made four straight free throws to give her team a 41-28 advantage.

The Patriots kept their lead in double figures the rest of the way, and were up 51-32 late in the game before Ryan popped in a baseline jumper for a 17-point spread at the end. Eight players scored for the victors, including sophomore guards Lilly Funk and Bri O’Hara.