Tigers sophomore Martina Kiewek (left) tries to pry the ball away from Bodine’s Joscelynne Stewart. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Germantown Friends School staged its 30th Annual Germantown Community Tournament last weekend, and the girls’ basketball team from GFS marked the occasion with two convincing victories that netted the Tigers the 2019 championship.

On Friday evening, GFS overwhelmed Bodine High School for International Affairs, 49-7, and on Saturday afternoon, the Tigers claimed the tourney title by outpacing Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice, 72-40.

Friday’s tournament game was the season opener for Bodine, while GFS had launched its season three days earlier, when the Tigers were edged by host Hun School in Princeton, 43-41.

That happened to be the exact score at the end of the first Community Tournament semifinal game on Friday afternoon. Here, Parkway Northwest rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to squeeze past Roxborough High School. The winners received 15 points from Taliyah Carter and 12 from Amirah Ali, while Roxborough’s Janiyah Greer posted a game-high 19 points.

As Bodine and GFS got underway, it quickly became clear that the Ambassadors had no one to match up with the Tigers’ 6’2″ Clare Meyer. The sophomore scored nine points in the opening quarter, mostly off of offensive rebounds. Her classmate, Martina Kiewek, canned a three-pointer, and junior Desiree Norwood hit a layup as GFS built up a 14-0 lead during the first eight minutes.

Kiewek added 10 more points in the second stanza as the Tigers kept on rolling. Among the challenges for Bodine was adapting to the constraints of a shot clock, which was introduced in Friends Schools League competition last season.

GFS was leading 30-0 when the Ambassadors got on the board with two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman point guard Cameron Holden scored on a layup for Bodine, but GFS quickly answered and took a 32-2 advantage into the intermission.

Doing all of their scoring in the first two quarters were Kiewek with 13 points, Meyer with nine and Norwood and sophomore Cadence Kelly with four points apiece.

GFS head coach Mike Lintulahti had reserve players on the floor to start the second half. The Tigers led 42-6 at the three-quarter mark before cruising to a 42-point win.

Sophomore Claudia Rickels finished with eight points, while her twin sister Caroline, who started the game, scored two. Freshman Caroline Putnam came away with five points, and GFS got two points apiece from two other ninth-graders, Ndaia Blakney and Caroline Schure.

For Saturday’s final, GFS was missing the services of Meyer, while Parkway went without 5’11” forward Anyae Heath and had only six players available for duty. Still, the presence of 6’1″ sophomore Taliyah Carter would seem to give the Parkway Hoyas a major advantage in the paint, but two things prevented that from happening.

GFS junior Desiree Norwood displays her intensity as she focuses on defense. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

First, the Tigers’ Kelly, who stands 5’11”, stepped up for Germantown on the inside, producing a team-high 25 points. In addition, the Hoyas’ Carter committed four personal fouls in just the first three-and-a-half minutes of the contest. She managed to avoid fouling out and rang up 27 points on the offensive end, but her defensive effectiveness was compromised.

At the outset, Norwood drove to the hoop to give the Tigers a lead they never lost, and Kelly got going with a layup and a pair of free throws. Kelly continued to produce on the inside, while Norwood and Kiewek canned three-point field goals later in the opening period. After three-and-a-half minutes, GFS had a modest 7-5 lead, but then the Tigers clamped down on defense and roared away from the Hoyas to make it 25-5 by the end of the quarter.

Parkway Northwest had a little more scoring success in the second frame, but the visitors were still doubled up by the tourney hosts, 18-9. Kelly already had 23 points in the books at halftime when GFS was up 43-14.

Parkway shaved three points off its deficit in the third quarter by outscoring the Tigers, 18-15. Carter led the way, netting 15 of her 27 total points during the period.

Nevertheless, GFS began the fourth round with a 26-point cushion (58-32) and the Tigers’ reserve players made a 9-0 run on the Hoyas early in the final stanza.

Following Kelly and Norwood (13 points) on the scoresheet were seven other Tigers. Freshman Margaret Harvey put up eight points and Blakney and Caroline Rickels each scored seven. Claudia Rickels had four points, Kiewek and freshman Maria Ramos each scored three, and Schure added two points. For Parkway, Carter’s output was supplemented with seven points from Keyanna Jones and six from Ali.

During the awards ceremony that followed the game, GFS’ Norwood was honored as the tournament MVP. Kelly was named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Carter and Ali of Parkway Northwest, Greer of Roxborough High, and Bodine’s Lexa Horsey-Williams.

Since the tournament’s inception, a highlight of the gathering has been the presentation of the Germantown Community Service Award. The deserving recipients this year were the founders of the Daniel E. Rumph II Foundation.

When sudden cardiac arrest cut short the life of 21-year-old Danny Rumph, his mother, Viola Owens, started the foundation in his name. The organization seeks to raise awareness of the main cause of this tragic affliction, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and has worked to equip public recreation centers in Philadelphia and across the state with automated external defibrillators. There is also an emphasis on early screening for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

At the GFS tournament, Owens was personally recognized, along with co-founders and board members Sharif Hanford, Mike Morak and Justin Scott.