Girls basketball knocked out of playoffs
Upper Perk's Jess Spano tries to get a shot off before being stripped of the ball by a Gwynedd Mercy player in Tuesday night's District 1 playoff at Upper Perk.
A furious second-half rally fell short and the Upper Perk girls basketball team bowed out of the District 1 playoffs after a 49-44 loss to Gwynedd Mercy on Tuesday night.
Sparked by Holly Crossin (11), Stacey Auckland (10), and Kim Kachmar (9), the Tribe wiped out a 12-point deficit in the third quarter and climbed out of a five-point hole in the fourth to take a 42-41 lead with three and half minutes left in the game.
But the visitors closed out the game with an 8-2 run to end the Tribe’s season.
The Tribe suffered through a horrendous first quarter that ultimately spelled their doom. Upper Perk turned the ball over seven times in the first 3:40 of the contest, shot 1-11, and went scoreless for the first 5:46 until Rachael Keeney rebounded an Auckland miss to cut Gwynedd’s lead to 7-2.
At the end of the quarter, the Tribe trailed 11-3, thanks to five points from junior guard Christa Giordano and four from freshman forward Erica DiCandido (13).
“We did have a lot of nerves in the first quarter, ended up digging a hole,” said Upper Perk coach Pete Sovia, “but I knew as soon as we got the nerves out, we’d start playing some ball, and we did.”
Crossin gave the Indians an offensive jolt with a three-point field goal and a short jumper in the lane off an inbounds play to cut the Gwynedd lead to three with less than a minute played in the second quarter.
But the visitors settled down and two buckets by Bridget Coleman (7) sandwiched around a Katrina McGrath fastbreak layup built an 11-point lead.
Thanks to a Kachmar trey and Dani Moser’s steal and basket, the Tribe cut the deficit to 23-15 at the half.
After Emily Sullivan’s bucket made it 32-20 early in the third quarter, Sovia called a timeout, and the Tribe responded to whatever was said in the huddle with a 14-2 run to end the quarter.
First Moser deposited a lay-up and then Kachmar nailed a three. A pair of Crossin free throws made it 32-27 before Gwynedd’s Bailey Greenberg (11) broke the spell with two free throws.
Crossin hit two free throws of her own and Kachmar drilled another three. With time running down, the visitors threw the ball away and Morgan Aldinger threw in a short runner at the buzzer to knot the game at 34.
But foul trouble for the Indians was looming large as the final quarter began and Gwynedd cashed in.
In the first 2:37 DiCandido went six for six from the charity stripe to nudge the visitors to a 40-36 lead.
The resilient Indians fought back to take the lead on an Auckland steal and layup and a Crossin put back and when Keeney rebounded a missed free throw by Moser and banked in a bucket the large contingent of white clad UP students erupted as the Tribe took a one point lead.
Gwynedd’s Jenna Rachiatore, however, cooly made two more free throws to take the lead back for good at 43-42. Coleman followed with a jumper and later added a free throw before Greenberg tallied on a breakaway lay-up.
Auckland’s lay-up cut the lead to 48-44 with 32 seconds left, but that would be the Tribe’s final hurrah.
“I knew they were a pretty good team,” Sovia said of Gwynedd. “They did not beat themselves. That game really could of went either way. We make a couple more shots and it probably turns it around.”
Afterwards, the coach had the difficult duty of saying goodbye to his five seniors: Auckland, Kachmar, Moser, Keeney and Danielle Marinelli.
“The senior crew singlehandedly pulled this program into one that’s on the way up right now, and it’s completely due to the seniors, their work ethic and their dedication. They’re just five great kids.”