Friday, March 8, 2013

Late rally thwarts Rustin girls

Staff photo by Brad Spahr/Rustin's Adashia Franklyn muscles her way to the basket during Friday's PIAA Class AAAA first-round game.


EAST NORRITON -- For three quarters the West Chester Rustin High School girls basketball team looked like a Lamborghini firing on all cylinders, poised to explode right on past Dover in their first-round PIAA Class AAAA playoff game.
Then suddenly the engine started overheating, and eventually the wheels simply fell off.
The whole thing was both painful and heartbreaking to watch, as the Ches-Mont League champion Golden Knights let a 12-point fourth quarter lead slip away on Friday night and saw their outstanding season come to a close as they were stunned by Dover, 54-53, at Norristown High School.
How bizarre was this game? Well, the Eagles (26-3 overall) found a way to prevail despite going a stretch of 11 minutes without a single field goal, and the fourth-place squad out of District 3 also saw four of its starters foul out of the contest. On top of that, they had no answers whatsoever for Rustin (22-8) standout junior center Adashia Franklyn, who finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds.
Nonetheless, Dover rallied back from the dead by scoring as many points in the final period as the prior three quarters combined and shockingly took their first lead of the night, 52-51, with 7.5 seconds remaining. Junior guard Alayah Hall, who was phenomenal in netting a game-high 22 points, made the big shot for the Eagles with the game on the line. She was also fouled on the play, and converted the ensuing free throw for the traditional three-point play.
Rustin, in disbelief, took a timeout to calm their nerves. However, they then proceeded to turn the ball over while attempting to get it up court trailing by a point. That forced them to immediately foul Dover’s Ashentay Kearse, who calmly buried both shots from the line to up her team’s lead to 54-51 with 5.1 seconds to go.
Rustin, now out of time outs, rushed the ball into the hands of star guard Noelle Powell. She raced up court, but then instead of pulling up for a potential game tying 3-pointer, Powell drove to the basket as the final seconds dwindled off the clock and scored on a layup as time expired. With that final horn, Rustin’s remarkable season was over.
“It was our game, and frankly I don’t have any idea how we lost this one,” said a heartbroken first-year Rustin coach Leah Kim. “It’s coaching. This one is on my shoulders -- not the kids. I assume full responsibility. I should have saved time outs and put the team in a better situation there at the end.
“This really hurts to go out like this. I thought we were definitely the better team here tonight -- no doubt about it.”
It was hard to fault Kim, Powell, or anyone for that matter. Things just kind of snowballed on Rustin in a hurry, and there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot they could do about it in what was a night to forget in an otherwise memorable season. The Golden Knights were outstanding this winter in setting a school record for wins. They also claimed their first Ches-Mont League title, won a district playoff game for the first time, eventually making it all the way to the district semifinals, before going on to earn their first state tournament berth.
They looked like they were going to roll to another first, their first state playoff victory, after storming to a commanding 31-17 halftime lead. Franklyn was terrific in the opening half, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Powell was on top of her game as well, scoring eight points and navigating Dover’s tough full-court pressure. Junior Casey Warley added 10 of her 13 points in the opening half.
“We were playing so well,” said Kim.
The Golden Knights didn’t surrender a field goal in the second quarter as their defense was spectacular. Dover’s first point of the quarter came with 2:34 left in the half on a free throw by Hall, who then later added their second and final point of the period on another free throw with 16.7 seconds left.
“It certainly didn’t look like this was going to be our night,” said Dover coach Troy Lokhaiser. “In the locker room at halftime, though, the girls still believed. They refused to believe that the game was over. We knew we couldn’t buy a basket in the first half, and if we could just get some shots to fall we might be able to make a run.”
Dover finally snapped its field goal drought, that had dated back to the opening quarter, when Megan Lokhaiser netted a basket with 5:42 to go in the third. The Eagles awoke from that point, and pulled to within 39-27 after three periods of play.
Then, it fell apart for Rustin.
Dover really got hot in the fourth quarter, erupting for 27 points in the frame, including four crucial 3-pointers and a perfect 11-of-11 from the line. In a game that featured over 40 total fouls, things started to get real testy late.
Rustin led 50-46 with 40 seconds to play after Franklyn made 1-of-2 free throws. But Dover immediately trimmed it to one, 50-49, on a huge 3-pointer by Brianna Crossan with 30.4 seconds left. After taking a timeout, Rustin nearly threw the ball away but Katie O’Hare saved it from going out of bounds by tossing it to Warley, who was fouled. Warley made 1-of-2 free throws with 17.6 seconds remaining to up the Golden Knights’ lead to 51-49.
That set the stage for Hall’s heroics for Dover. Her clutch old-fashioned 3-point play gave the Eagles a lead they would never relinquish and moved them on to the second round on Tuesday night for a date with Nazareth High School.
“I just wanted to take the ball strong to the basket,” said Hall. “What an amazing feeling. We knew we could come back and win this game.”
The majority of Rustin’s players, meanwhile, left the locker room with tears running down their faces. It was about as tough a loss as you can be dealt. The Golden Knights return all their starters next year, and boy oh boy, will this loss provide plenty of motivation during the offseason.
“I told the girls to keep their heads up,” said Kim. “They had a better year than a lot of people expected them to have.”

Dover 54, W.C. Rustin 53
DOVER: Funk 2 2-3 7, Fowler 2 0-2 4, Lokhaiser 4 0-0 10, Hall 3 15-18 22, Herman 2 0-0 4, Crossan 1 2-2 5, Kearse 0 2-2 2. Totals: 14 21-27 54.
W.C. RUSTIN: Warley 4 5-7 13, Steinmetz 0 0-0 0, Powell 5 4-4 14, O’Hare 2 0-0 4, Franklyn 7 6-15 20, Walls 1 0-2 2, Hoy 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 15-28 53.
Dover     15 2 10 27 -- 54
W.C. Rustin     20 11 8 14 -- 53
3-point goals: Funk, Lokhaiser 2, Hall, Crossan.

Griffins overcome turnovers to reach 2nd round


PLYMOUTH MEETING -- When postseason tournament time comes it is not about style, just results. And although Friday night in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Church Farm did not play well at all, turning the ball over a season-high 28 times, the end result is that the Griffins lived to play another day.
Church Farm did force New Hope Academy into 30 turnovers and kept a big first-period lead safe to triumph, 58-44. The Griffins will play the District 11 champion Mahanoy Area or District 4’s Muncy Tuesday night at a time and place to be determined.
Aondofa Anyam led the Griffins (21-5) with 19 points and added four assists to go along with three steals and was easily the best player on the floor.
“Our focus dropped a lot after we got that big early lead,” Anyam said. “We did not focus and take care of the basketball like we should. Coach (Marc) Turner talked about that to us in the locker room after the game. “
The first period saw a big Church Farm rush started by its tenacious defense as Joey Shelton stole a New Hope Academy pass, drove the floor, scored, and hit the free throw to complete the three-point play for a 13-6 lead.
Anyam then stripped a Mighty Ants guard and scored in transition for a 15-6 edge. John Rodriguez, who scored eight points on the night, created another steal and took a nice feed from Anyam and scored for a 17-6 advantage. After another New Hope turnover -- one of 10 first-period miscues for the Mighty Ants -- Jan Bohm hit a driving Anyam in full stride for a 19-6 lead to end the first.
The carnage continued in the second, although Church Farm did turn the ball over 14 times themselves in the first half. Baskets by Anyam and Mlynue Reeeves at the end of the second period sent the Griffins into the locker room with a big 34-20 edge.
“When your offense is not working as well as it should, you can always play good defense and create scoring chances for your team and that is what we did tonight.” Anyam said.
New Hope Academy (18-6), tried to get back into the game. Led by Ishmael Brown’s 13 points, the Mighty Ants battled hard the entire second half. The Ants did not shoot well enough however to come all the way back as New Hope shot just 16 for 50 (32 percent) on the night to go along with those 30 miscues.
 They shranked Church Farm’s lead to 54-44 with 1:56 to play in the game after a 3-pointer from Dominque Salisbury. But, two Bohm free throws and a blocked shot by Larry Cermak, one of five on the night for the 6-foot-9 senior, kept the Griffins safe and put them into Tuesday’s second round.
 “We have young guards and they played very young tonight,” Church Farm coach Marc Turner said. “We have not turned the ball over like that all season and I think we played down to the level of competition. We will clean things up Saturday in practice and they will not happen again.
 “We know what we can do and what type of team we are, so I am not worried. These things happen at times and they will not happen to us again. This time of the year it is all about execution and efficiency and we were neither tonight. It will be addressed as it was in the locker room and we will grow from it.”

Church Farm 58, New Hope Academy 44
NEW HOPE ACADEMY: Serrano 3 1-2 7, Salisbury 5 2-2 13, Brown 5 3-4 13, Morgan 2 2-2 7, Harris 1 0-0 2, Matthews 0 2-4 2, Murray 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-10 44.
 CHURCH FARM: Anyam 8 3-4 19, Rodriguez 3 2-3 8, Mohammed 2 8-11 12, Bohm 1 2-4 4, Shelton 2 1-2 5, Cermak 0 3-5 3, Reeves 2 1-3 5, Ofray 1 0-0 2, Towles 0 0-0 0, McDuffy 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 20-34 58.
New Hope Academy     8 12 11 13-44
Church Farm               19 15 13 11-58
3-point goals: Morgan, Salisbury.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coatesville awakens to turn back Methacton

Journal Register News Service

WORCESTER — Coatesville struggled for the first three quarters of Tuesday night’s District 1 Class AAAA boys basketball playoff game.
Methacton’s zone defense kept the Red Raiders at bay forcing them to take uncomfortable shots, and keeping them from penetrating in the lane.
But Coatesville broke through Methacton’s defense in the fourth quarter and came away with a 63-46 blowout.
The Red Raiders, who owned the fourth quarter with a 27-4 run, will play at Upper Darby on Friday in the fifth-place consolation game.
"We knew coming in that they’re a really talented team," said Methacton coach Jeff Derstine. "Our goal coming in was to make it a half-court game. For three quarters, I felt we did that."
No Red Raider had more than seven points heading into the fourth. Andre Boggs, Jaquan Hollingshed, and Chris Jones each had six in the last frame alone.
"They came back," said Derstine. "They took a lead, and everything happened really, really fast."
"There was a stretch of time in the second half where we were getting good looks," he continued. "Shots that most times we make. We didn’t make those shots, and they got easy buckets. It snowballed pretty quickly."
Keeping Methacton’s big man Brendan Casper in check was a primary goal for Coatesville coach Rick Nelms.
"We denied (Casper) and made it hard for him," Nelms said. "We picked up the pressure."
Casper was held scoreless in the fourth on 0-for-4 shooting from the field and was 0-for-1 from the free throw line.
"Chris Jones came in and played well,’’ said Nelms. "We started playing tough defense. We started going inside."
The Raiders took eight trips to the charity stripe in the second half, shooting 14-for-15, compared to Methacton’s five trips and 6-for-9 shooting.
Coatesville’s offensive versatility was on full display, as four Raiders scored in double figures.
Emmett Hunt led the team with 12. Howard Sellars chipped in with 11, while Boggs and Hollingshed scored 10 apiece.
"They started pressuring the ball," Nelms said. "They’re a nice team, and I think we wore them down."
It certainly seemed that way for the Warriors. Methacton shot 39 percent from the field in the first half, to go along with 10-for-11 free throw shooting.
"We had to sub a little bit more than we usually do, but they were in the same boat," Derstine said about the game’s foul situation.
Casper led the Warriors in scoring and on the glass, with 15 points and seven rebounds, despite his rough fourth quarter.
Coatesville 63, Methacton 46
COATESVILLE: Boggs 4 2-3 10, Hollingshed 4 2-3 10, Lewis 2 0-2 5, Hoggard 3 0-1 6, Jones 3 0-0 6, Williams 0 3-4 3, Hunt 3 6-7 12, Sellars 2 7-7 11, Totals 21 14-26 63.
METHACTON: Jenkins 2 0-0 4, Mann 3 0-0 8, Ruhl 0 1-2 1, Forrest 2 4-7 8, O’Brien 0 4-4 4, Casper 5 5-8 15, Ardman 2 2-3 6, Totals 14 16-24 46.
Coatesville 6 17 13 27 - 63
Methacton 13 17 12 4 - 46
3-point goals: Lewis, Mann 2, Ardman 2.

Great Valley overwhelmed by Lower Merion

Staff photo by Tom Kelly IV/Lower Merion's Yohanny Dalembert throws down a dunk during the Aces' 61-35 victory over Great Valley in the District 1 Class AAAA semifinals on Tuesday night.


PHILADELPHIA -- The worst thing that could have happened to the Great Valley boys basketball team occured Tuesday night in the District 1 Class AAAA emifinals against No. 2 Lower Merion at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. The third-seeded Patriots got behind by a large margin early and could never recover as the Aces adavnced to Friday night’s final with a convincing 61-35 triumph.
Lower Merion put three players in double-figures and got a big game fromn 6-foot-9, Yohanney Delembert, who led the Aces (27-2) with 16 points to go along with nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Dalembert, who had a huge size adavantage on the Great Valley (26-2) big men, controlled the boards from the outset.
"We thought we had an advantage underneath because of the size difference," Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer said. "Yohanney had about four or five inches on 23 (Nate Cohen) and he did some good things for us tonight.
"I thought it was critical for us to get that big cushion early and make them play from behind. I did not view Great Valley as a Cinderalla team. I knew they were very good and very well coached, but that big early lead got us going."
Dalembert scored six first-period points to help the Aces to a 16-7 lead after one. Great Valley had a tough shooting first half, going five for 20 from the field, and not getting offense from anyone other than Mikal Bridges, who led the Patriots with 16 points.
As if the talented Aces needed any more help, Corey Sherman came off the bench to score 10 points in the second period. Sherman drained two long 3-pointers and hit on a runner in the lane to make it a 26-9 Lower Merion late in the half. Great Valley shot just two-for-10 in the second and trailed the Aces at halftime 29-11. Lower Merion shot an astounding 60 percent (25-for-42) on the night. They were 11 of 19 (58 percent) in the first half.
"I have been getting more and more playing time as the season has gone on," Sherman said. "And tonight, I wanted to come in and give us a spark and my shots just went down."
The third period belonged to the point guard, Jaquan Johnson, who scored eight of his 14 points right after the break. After a Dalemebert slam dunk to make it 33-11, Johnson scored on a follow to push the lead to 24. After a Great Valley turnover -- one of five in the third -- Johnson slashed to the hoop to make it 37-11. Lower Merion went on to a 45-22 lead after three and the Patriots’ dream of going to the district final was done.
"We just got too far behind them early," Great Valley coach Jim Nolan said. "They are just so good and they hurt us with their size inside. They just have so many weapons tyo stop it makes it tough. But that being said, if we hit our shots early, we would have been right in the game.
"The kids are down right now, but we have no time to be down. We have to pick right back up and get ready for Friday."
Great Vallery shot the ball better in the fourth, going six-for-14 and getting four points from sophomore Ryan Buchholz off the bench, and a 3-pointer from Julian Alston.
The Patriots will host No. 5 Abington in the third-place game, Friday night at 7 p.m.
Lower Merion 61, Great Valley 35
GREAT VALLEY: Bridges 7 1-1 16, Sherry 1 0-0 5, Cohen 1 0-0 2, Geiss 0 0-0 0, Gregory 1 0-0 3, Buchholz 2 0-0 4, Alston 1 0-0 3, Ames 2 0-0 4, Miller 0 0-0 0, Dickinson 0 0-0 0, Strang 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 1-1 35.
LOWER MERION: Dalembert 7 2-2 16, Johnson 7 0-0 14, Johnson 2 3-4 8, Hall 3 0-0 6, McFadden 2 0-0 5, Sherman 3 2-2 10, Cotler 1 0-0 2, Howland 0 0-0 0, Shapiro 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 7-8 61.
Great Valley 7 4 11 13-35
Lower Merion 16 13 16 16 -61
3-point goals: Sherry, Gregory, Bridges, Alston, Johnson, Sherman 2, McFadden.

Griffins coast into fourth straight district final


CHELTENHAM -- Different year, much different team.
Same old Church Farm.
Mike Mohamed led a balanced attack with 12 points as the Griffins cruised into their fourth consecutive District 1 Class A title game with a 72-38 victory over Phil-Mont Christian on Tuesday night at Cheltenham High School. Larry Cermak and John Rodriguez added 10 points apiece and Aondofa Anyam turned in a stellar all-around performance for top-seeded Church Farm, which locked up a state berth and cruised into Saturday’s championship against No. 3 Gospel of Grace Christian, set for 2 p.m. at Villanova University’s Pavilion.
"It feels great," said Cermak, whose team will go for a third consecutive district crown. "It’s kind of become a tradition for us."
After losing leading scorer Howard Sellars, who transferred to Coatesville before the start of the season, Church Farm was forced to become a different team. The Griffins did, keeping their customary defensive prowess while discovering a balanced offensive arsenal with a seemingly endless array of weapons. Without a go-to scorer, Church Farm has redefined itself to become more than the sum of its parts.
"Every team is different," head coach Marc Turner said. "This team is the most versatile team I’ve had. I have eight guys averaging six points or more. I’d rather have a team like that.
"I love Howard, and I miss Howard. He’s like a son to me, but at the end of the day, give me 10 guys who can play a little bit and now I have some pieces."
Every piece came together Tuesday for the Griffins, who puzzled the fourth-seeded Falcons into 28 turnovers on the night, allowing just 14 field goals in a comprehensive rout. While Cermak and Mlynue Reeves (nine points) took care of the interior, the Griffins’ athletic guards went to work, hounding shorthanded Phil-Mont up and down the court and turning the lion’s share of the Falcons’ turnovers into layups at the other end.
While Phil-Mont Christian was missing starting point guard Micah Baldez, Turner went nine players deep for the majority of the contest, substituting in and out with regularity. Ten Griffins scored in the game, and six grabbed at least three rebounds. Anyam filled the stat sheet and made his presence felt throughout, finishing with nine points, three rebounds, three assists, and six steals, two of them coming on back-to-back possessions to help Church Farm open up a double-digit lead for the first time early in the second quarter. The track star, who holds the school record in the high jump, showed off his one-of-a-kind athleticism on several occasions, jetting through the lane at mach speed and rising high above the rim to snare an offensive rebound. Along with Cermak, the junior guard has taken on a new leadership role in the absence of Sellars.
"I think every team loses some key players every year, and different people have to step up," Anyam said. "It’s the same thing with us. We lost a couple, but we’re just trying to do our best."
Instead of an alpha dog scorer, the Griffins now have a deep stable of complementary pieces and a unit every bit as potent as the last two district championship squads.
"It’s hard to get ready for us," Cermak said, "because anybody on the floor can score."
Playing a team they had beaten by 39 just a few days before, the Griffins came out slow. They led just 6-5 when Zach Dolton, who scored a game-high 14 points, hit a runner in the lane midway through the opening period. From there, Church Farm flipped the switch, taking a double-digit lead when Anyam converted a steal at midcourt into a flying layup at the other end to make it 23-12 early in the second. Anywam stripped a Falcons guard on the ensuing possession as well, blazing downcourt for a basket and the foul.
The Griffins closed the second quarter on a 16-4 run to take a 35-16 lead into halftime, then started the second half on a 10-2 run capped by a Rodriguez follow on a missed free throw that made it 45-18. The lead swelled to 30 early in the fourth, Turner emptying his bench as the clock wound down on the Griffins’ fourth straight trip to the district finals. In a new year, with a new team, the Griffins will try to accomplish what the last two did before them. After all, players may graduate, but tradition never does.
"I would imagine there’s not a lot of teams that can say that," Turner said of the opportunity for a three-peat. "We want to be one of those teams that is able to say that. Quite frankly, we’re pretty proud of the product we’ve put on the floor the last couple of years. We don’t want to let the previous teams down. We’re just hoping to continue the success."
Church Farm 72, Phil-Mont Christian 38
PHIL-MONT CHRISTIAN: M. Steiger 0 0-0 0, Luckey 3 0-0 7, Dolton 4 4-6 14, Brandenburg 1 0-0 3, N. Baldez 1 2-2 4, Byrd 4 0-0 8, Smith 1 0-0 2, E. Steiger 0 0-0 0, Griffin 0 0-0 0, Bone 0 0-2 0. Totals 14 6-8 38.
CHURCH FARM: Anyam 3 3-3 9, Bohm 2 1-2 5, Cermak 5 0-1 10, Ofray 2 1-1 5, Reeves 4 1-6 9, Shelton 2 0-0 4, Mohamed 6 0-0 12, Dagou 0 0-0 0, Towles 2 0-0 5, McDuffy 0 0-0 0, Pile 1 0-0 3, Render 0 0-0 0, Ogunleye 0 0-0 0, Rodriguez 5 0-0 10. Totals 27 6-13 72.
3-point goals: Luckey, Dolton 2, Brandenburg, Towles, Pile.

Mirarchi hits milestone, Villa rolls into district final

Staff photo by Brad Spahr/Villa Maria's Lisa Mirarchi scored her 1,000th career point as Villa Maria advanced to the finals of the District 1 Class AAA playoffs on Tuesday night.


PLYMOUTH MEETING - About the only dramatics during the Villa Maria Academy girls basketball team’s semifinal round District 1 Class AAA playoff game against Lower Moreland on Tuesday night centered around when exactly standout senior guard Lisa Mirarchi would get her 1,000th career point.
Mirarchi eventually hit the personal milestone early in the third quarter and finished with 15 points in all, as the No. 1 seeded Hurricanes destroyed No. 4 Lower Moreland, 52-28, at Plymouth Whitermarsh High School.
Villa Maria (20-5 overall) will now get the opportunity to make it three straight district championships. They’ll attempt to defend their crown on Saturday night at 6 p.m. in the title game at Villanova University’s Pavilion against fellow Athletic Association of Catholic Academies foe Merion Mercy. In the first game of the semifinal doubleheader on Tuesday, No. 10 Merion Mercy upset No. 3 Pope John Paul II by a score of 47-35 to punch their ticket to Villanova.
Equally as important for Villa Maria, they also clinched a PIAA playoff berth after it’s contest against Lower Moreland (22-5) turned into a surprisingly easy cakewalk.
Mirarchi came into the game needing 11 points to hit 1,000 for her career. She scored 10 in the first half, helping her team to a lopsided 36-11 lead. Her teammates, coaches and supporters in the crowd didn’t have to wait long after the intermission to see her achieve the feat.
Mirarchi was fouled with 4:36 left in the third period, and then proceeded to knock down the ensuing free throw to the delight of everyone in the crowd. The game was then halted momentarily as her teammates congratulated her on the court.
"It’s a nice accomplishment, but what we want here is district and state championships," said Mirarchi, who became just the fourth Villa Maria player to score 1,000 points. "I never expected to do this when I started playing, so it’s pretty exciting.
"The biggest thing is we get a chance to defend our district title on Saturday, which is going to be awesome, especially since it’s at Villanova. We can’t wait."
Junior Molly Namiotka scored a game-high 16 points for the Hurricanes, and Jackie Carlin (eight points) and Lexi Daggett (six points) were their other high scorers.
Villa Maria’s defense was phenomenal on this night. They forced 20 turnovers, and their play on that end of the court completely turned the tide of the game in the first half. The Hurricanes didn’t allow a single point in the second quarter, outscoring Lower Moreland 18-0 in the period to turn this one into a laugher.
There was 5:59 left in the third when the Lions finally scored again, a drought that lasted nearly 11 minutes dating back to the end of the first period.
"We’ve been telling the kids that if you wanna win championships you have to play defense," said Villa Maria coach Kathy McCartney. "I thought we were terrific defensively tonight, and we rebounded the ball very well. All and all this was a real solid effort on both ends of the floor."
McCartney, who also hit a personal milestone earlier this season with her 500th career win, could not have been happier for Mirarchi afterwards, a player who has started in each of the last three seasons for her.
"It couldn’t have happen to a greater kid," said McCartney. "She did all the yeoman’s work as an underclassman, and now she is getting her chance to shine."
Villa Maria has gone 8-1 in its last nine games. Their only loss in that span came in the AACA title game against a Mount St. Joseph’s team who will be playing in the AAAA district semifinals tonight. The Hurricanes will be facing Merion Mercy for the third time this season on Saturday night. They’ve won the previous two, and one more win over them is all that stands in the way of their third straight district championship.
"We’re very excited for the game," said McCartney. "It never gets old. I don’t care if it’s a tidily winks championship...we want to be playing in it."
Villa Maria 52, Lower Moreland 28
LOWER MORELAND: Killian 3 0-0 8, Dranzik 0 0-0 0, Morgan Stein 3 0-0 6, Campbell 3 1-2 8, Alexander 2 1-2 5, Givnish 0 1-2 1. Totals: 11 3-6 28.
VILLA MARIA: Mirarchi 6 2-2 15, Carlin 3 2-2 8, Namiotka 6 4-4 16, Fetterolf 0 1-2 1, Tirney 0 0-0 0, Mooney 1 0-0 2, Daggett 3 0-0 6, O’Rourke 1 0-0 2, Knopp 0 2-2 2. Totals: 20 11-12 52.
Lower Moreland 11 0 13 4 -- 28
Villa Maria 18 18 7 9 -- 52
3-point goals: Killian 2, Campbell, Mirarchi.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rustin girls book first state playoff berth

Staff photo by Brad Spahr/Noelle Powell dives on the floor during Wednesday's District 1 Class AAAA second-round victory over Methacton.


LOWER PROVIDENCE - For the West Chester Rustin High girls basketball team, this one hurt so good.
The 12th-seeded Golden Knights, bloodied and bruised after their second-round District 1 Class AAAA playoff game at No. 5 Methacton resembled more of a cross between the Daytona 500 and a pro football game, were nonetheless nothing but smiles afterwards.
And for very good reason.
Rustin proved to be tougher in what was an extremely physical and intense battle from start to finish on Wednesday night, as they upset the Warriors on their home court by a score of 54-49 to make school history by clinching their first state playoff berth.
The red-hot Golden Knights (21-5 overall), who have now won 18 straight games, also now advance to the district quarterfinals, where they’ll host No. 20 Pennsbury at a date and time to be determined.
Junior center Adashia Franklyn turned in a monster performance for Rustin, finishing with a game-high in both points (16) and rebounds (14). But it was as balanced an effort as you’ll get, as the sophomore trio of Noelle Powell, Casey Warley and Anna Steinmetz all scored 10 points apiece. Another sophomore, Katie O’Hare, added eight points.
Rustin led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, 43-37, with 4:50 remaining in what was a fantastic game throughout.
Methacton (21-6), however, roared all the way back to seize its first lead since early in the second half, 47-46, with 2:13 left after Kara Steinke sunk a pair of free throws following a questionable foul call on Powell near mid court.
Just moments later, though, Rustin went back in front for good when Steinmetz scored on a runner in the lane with 1:51 to go to make it 48-47. Following a turnover by Methacton, Rustin got the dagger from Warley, as she sunk a 3-pointer with 1:23 left to up the lead to 51-47.
"Coaching strategy we didn’t want her to shoot the ball there, we wanted to burn clock," said West Chester Rustin first-year coach Leah Kim. "It was one of those shots were you, no, no, no....yes.
"These girls have ice water in their veins and they are confident. I’m so happy for them. They wanted this so bad and for them to get it and make states is huge. They fought their hearts out and showed a ton of poise."
Methacton got a team-high 14 points from senior Sarah Sherman, including two key 3-pointers in the fourth to help her team crawl back. The Warriors answered Warley’s three with 1:06 left on the clock to cut the score to two, 51-49, on a put back inside by Steinke.
After a time out, Rustin got another gigantic basket when O’Hare swished a jumper with 32 seconds left to make it 53-49, and that was it as Methacton failed to convert on its next trip down the court.
"It’s an awesome feeling getting this win. This was one of the most physical games we’ve played in and it was back and forth the whole time," said O’Hare, who was sporting a pretty severely bruised nose afterwards. "We fought as hard as we could all game, and it feels really good to get a win like this."
Franklyn was sensational for Rustin. She scored 13 points in the second half, eight of which came in a critical third quarter. Rustin, who trailed by two points at the break, opened the third period on an 11-2 run and eventually led 35-30 after three. Warley was also big in the frame, scoring five points.
Powell, to go along with her 10 points, did a terrific job handling the ball and helping the Golden Knights navigate Methacton’s full-court pressure. She was bumped and banged all game by double teams while attempting to bring the ball up court.
"It was very physical out there tonight," said Kim. "We expected it. We weren’t getting any calls, which we also expected. We were getting banged around and it didn’t faze my kids."
Rustin, the lower seed, knew a lot of people probably viewed them as underdogs on this night.
"It didn’t matter. We knew we were going to win," said Steinmetz, who was all over the court on both ends for the Golden Knights. "We definitely played as a team, and we wanted to make school history. It’s a great feeling."
W.C. Rustin 54, Methacton 49
W.C. RUSTIN: Warley 4 0-0 10, Steinmetz 5 0-0 10, Franklyn 7 2-4 16, Powell 4 1-2 10, O’Hare 4 0-0 8, Walls 0 0-1 0. Totals: 24 3-7 54.
METHACTON: Steinke 2 2-2 6, Sherman 5 1-2 14, Carroll 2 5-6 9, Watson 4 2-2 10, Glatthorn 2 0-0 6, Szkaradnik 1 0-0 2, Ellis 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 10-12 49.
W.C. Rustin 13 7 15 19 -- 54
Methacton 9 13 8 19 -- 49
3-point goals: Warley 2, Powell, Sherman 3, Glatthorn 2.