Girls' Basketball Notebook: Vol. 4

It was an especially happy holiday season for several SOL squads.

In addition to Upper Merion, which captured the Sherwood Holiday Classic, Abington, Council Rock North, Council Rock South, Quakertown, Springfield and Souderton all walked away with tournament titles.
Several other SOL teams notched important non-league wins while one SOL squad spent the week at Disney World. This week’s notebook will take a look at some of the highlights.
A week to remember – Central Bucks East unquestionably had the most interesting road trip over the holiday break. The Patriots traveled to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the KSA Holiday Tournament at Disney World.
The Patriots compiled a 2-1 record and finished third in their pool. East opened the tournament with a 66-52 win over Rockledge (Fla.). Liz Martin led the Patriots with 20 points while Sarah Pullar added 12 and Cait Vasey and Jordan Seiz, eight points each.
In their second game, the Patriots came out on the short end of a 60-56 score in overtime to Redmond (Wash.). Jaime Donovan paced the Patriots with 20 points while Vasey added 17.
“We should have easily won, but we gave up 28 points in the last quarter,” coach Tom Lonergan said. “To the credit of the other team, they kept playing hard, and their shots started falling. I think we learned we can’t just turn it on and off. We got complacent, and once we got complacent, we lost the edge we had on the defensive end of the floor that we had played with in the first three quarters when we limited them to 24 points. It’s difficult to just turn that back on.
“My comment to the team afterwards – we were very disappointed with our finish, but in the first three quarters, we played very well against a very good team. If we learned anything, we learned we have to put teams away if we have them down.”
 “That night after the game we headed to Magic Kingdom. It’s better to have learned it here in Disney World than to find out playing a Suburban One team and having to drive back to Doylestown.”
The Patriots came back to notch a convincing 74-33 win over Foy H. Moody (Tex.). Donovan had 13 points, Melissa Remmey, 12 points, and Jenna Sanfillipo, 10 points.
“Everyone enjoyed the final game,” Lonergan said. “It was icing on the cake.
“It was just a great time and something I would recommend.”
Vasey was named team MVP for the Patriots, who are 7-1 heading into the New Year.
Indians finish year strong – With the bitter taste of a disappointing loss to Upper Perk still in their mouths, members of the Souderton girls’ basketball team showed they meant business when the traveled to the Wissahickon Holiday Tournament, rolling to convincing wins over Lansdale Catholic (54-37) and Gwynedd-Mercy (57-37) en route to the tournament title.
Junior Brittany Sandone was named MVP. One day after scoring a game-high 16 points in her team’s win over LC, the junior guard had 12 points, five rebounds, two steals, three assists and one block in the Indians’ title game win over Gwynedd.  
“In both games, Brittany played very well, especially offensively in the second game,” coach Lynn Carroll said. “We need Brittany to take a lot of shots, but in game against Gwynedd, they weren’t coming to her naturally. She did a good job of allowing the game to come to her – not forcing things. “
Sandone, who transferred to Souderton from LC last year, set the tone for the Indians’ win over her former squad, burying her first two shots – a pair of treys that gave the Indians a 6-0 lead.
“She’s been playing well all year,” Carroll said. “Sometimes you see teams where the leading scorer starts getting selfish.
“Brittany is not even close to that. She has confidence in her teammates, and she gets them the ball, which says a lot about the kind of person she is.”
When Sandone’s teammate Emily Price accepted the plaque as a member of the all-tournament team, it was – for those who have followed the Souderton junior’s career - the tournament’s most poignant moment.
Over the past three seasons, Price has torn her ACL once and twice torn her meniscus.
In the title game, Price had nine points, two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
“Emily played one of her best games of the season against Gwynedd,” Carroll said. “She was making her shots consistently, she was taking good shots. When Emily scores 10 points, it’s usually a pretty quiet 10 points, and you don’t notice because she does a very good job of letting the game come to her.”
Rock North on a roll – Council Rock North started its holiday break with a 60-37 romp over an Oakland Catholic squad that was ranked sixth in the state. Sarah Kiely scored the first nine points of the game and finished the day with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
At the Wildwood Boardwalk Classic, the Indians knocked off previously undefeated Ocean City – ranked number three in South Jersey at the time – 59-51 in overtime. Devin Gold buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into OT. Gold paced the Indians with 20 points.
In the title game, the Indians knocked off South Jersey’s number two ranked squad, Camden Catholic, 45-39. Kiely led a balanced Rock North attack with 12 points while Juliann Fricke added 11 and Devin Gold, 10 points.
The Indians, who improved to 9-1, have won nine straight since their season-opening loss to defending state champion Central Dauphin.
Ghosts scare off competition – Abington, despite the absence of Emily Leer (injury), made easy business of the two teams it faced in the Owings Mills Holiday Tournament in suburban Baltimore. The Ghosts crushed Owings Mills 65-15 in and opening round game and then coasted to a 55-33 win over Eastern Tech in the title game.
The absence of stiff competition aside, the trip – which included a two-night stay - was a positive experience.
“It’s more than basketball for us,” coach Dan Marsh said. “We always play a little better after we come back from trips. The girls spend time together, they develop chemistry, and that’s important too.
“We don’t have Emily right now, so the chemistry is all that more important.”
Freshman Aijannah Peal scored 19 points to lead the Ghosts in their opening round win. In the title game, Jen Kelly led the way with 15 points on five three-pointers while Ajanae Boone added 14 points, which included three treys.
“They had watched us play the first game when Aijannah had 19 points, so they packed it in a zone, and we were able to hit the outside shots,” Marsh said.
The Ghosts’ junior varsity team, which also made the trip, kept its perfect record intact, notching a pair of wins to capture the jayvee tournament crown.
Golden Hawks finding their wings –Winning championships is not exactly familiar territory for the Council Rock South girls’ basketball team, but the Golden Hawks made history when they won their division of the Wildwood Boardwalk Classic. They downed Lower Cape May 43-31 in an opening round game, and in the title game, the Golden Hawks defeated Egg Harbor 49-31.
“This was real important for the girls because they’re not used to winning,” coach Monica Young said. “It gives them some confidence.”
Ann Silverthorn paced the Golden Hawks in both games, scoring 16 points in the win over Cape May and 13 one night later in the title game. The senior guard connected on three-of-four from three-point range.
Young also pointed to the effort of junior point Lea Britton as significant.
The Golden Hawks, who improved to 5-3, have already equaled their win total of all of last season when they were 5-19. 
“They’re working hard, they’re gaining more confidence, and they’re believing in themselves,” Young said. “We’re also playing pretty good defense.
“I’m excited, and so are they. They said, ‘This is the first time we’ve ever won a trophy.’”
The Golden Hawks, who defeated Pennridge 51-49 prior to the holiday break, take a modest three-game winning streak into the New Year.  It’s a far cry from last year when they endured an 11-game losing streak!
Title a team effort for Panthers – Quakertown notched a pair of convincing wins to capture the championship of their own holiday tournament. The Panthers routed Palisades 70-46 and then handily defeated Upper Perk 64-41 in the title game.
“The girls played hard,” coach Greg Swavely said. “They really wanted to win it together. They came out and played intense for all 32 minutes.”
Earlier this year, the Panthers downed Upper Perk 59-48 but needed a 17-7 fourth quarter to win by double digits. This time around, Quakertown led 34-24 at halftime and never looked back.
Daniella Ciccarone led a balanced attack with 20 points while Kristine Jackiewicz added 16, Lauren Starzecky, 15 points and Colleen Gavin, nine points.
“Upper Perk is vastly improved,” Swavely said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge. The girls decided they wanted that trophy.
“We were spreading the ball around. All five girls know they’re going to hit the open man, and that’s the key.”
In the win over Palisades, Starzecky had 18 points, Ciccarone, 16 points, Gavin, 10 points, and Jackewicz, nine points.
The Panthers, who defeated Pottsville 56-34 on Saturday, are 7-2.
DiFilippo leads Spartans to crown – Sparked by the inspired play of Elise DiFilippo, Springfield captured the title of its own Stan Novak Tournament last week. In their opening round game against Renaissance Academy, the Spartans opened up a 45-7 halftime lead on their way to a 59-17 rout. DiFilippo turned in a stellar 26-point effort. Annie Crudele scored 12 points.
In the title game, the Spartans opened up a 21-11 lead after one quarter and never looked back on their way to a 69-26 romp over Calvary Baptist. DiFilippo was once again unstoppable, topping all scorers with 30 points. Crudele added 13.
But DiFilippo and Crudele, who also combined for 24 rebounds in the two games, weren’t the only players to contribute.
Morgan Smith (17 points, 19 rebounds) Maggie Canavan (six points, six steals) and Briana Scafidi (six points, 12 rebounds) also came up big in the two-day tournament, and Molly Wheatley, Molly Tustin and Maureen Leis also got in the scoring column as all of Springfield’s players scored.
“They played as a team and worked hard to build leads and maintain them,” coach Sarah Gibbs said. “They executed and made terrific plays.
“These were two much-needed wins for us. We just came off two tough games and needed to gain our confidence to continue to improve. Our goal is always to play hard, play smart and have fun, and they accomplished all goals in the tournament.”
The Spartans are 3-6 on the season.
Hatters notch win – It had been a long time between wins for Hatboro-Horsham – 26 days, to be exact, but the Hatters brought to a welcome end a seven-game losing streak last week when they defeated Wildwood 46-24 in the consolation round of the Wildwood Boardwalk Classic.
Cailin Schmeer (11 points) and Alicia Hayes (10 points) led the Hatters.
How important was it to get a win?
“It’s life or death,” coach Eric Glemser said. “I’m not kidding you. Winning is a cure-all.”
Eleven players saw action, and one of bright spots of this year’s squad is a strong nucleus of freshman that includes Schmeer, Lindsay Day, Carly Bixler and Chrissy James.
“They have been playing together for a long, long time,” Glemser said. “They can finish each other’s sentences. They’re just a close group.
“They’re listening to everything you say. They’re trying, and they’re just fun to coach. They make it exciting to come to the gym. I have some good sophomores too.”
The Hatters fell to Bridgeton in the opening round, 55-42. Hayes and Day led the Hatters with 10 points each.
Around the league – Pennridge dropped a pair at the Boyertown Bear Classic. The Rams fell to Villa Joseph Marie 44-32 in an opening round game and then lost a 47-46 heartbreaker to Boyertown in the consolation round. Lindsey Lyons (11 points) and Marissa Kunkle (10 points) led the Rams in the loss to Villa. Against Boyertown, the Rams were led by Kunkle’s 20-point effort. Shannon Zickler had 10 points.
In a battle of former National Conference foes, Pennsbury picked up a huge non-league win, downing North Penn 50-45. NP’s Shakia Robinson led all scorers with 23 points, while Kelsey Balascsak (13 points) and Kersten Formento (10 points) led a balanced Falcon attack. Later in the week, the Maidens regrouped to down Central Bucks West 54-26.Robinson led the Maidens with 19 points.
Neshaminy dropped a pair of close games in the Wildwood Boardwalk Classic. The Redskins fell to Seneca 43-40 in the opening round and then fell to Winslow Township by an identical three-point margin, this time 40-37. Kelsey Ryan led the Redskins with 10 points against Winslow.
Wissahickon rebounded from a disappointing 26-24 loss to Gwynedd-Mercy in the opening round of its own holiday tournament to defeat Lansdale Catholic 43-34 in the consolation game. Colleen Hinde led the Trojans with 10 points.
Led by the 15-point effort of Danielle Derr and the 13-point performance of Nikki Harchut, Upper Dublin defeated Bowie (Md.) 50-45 in the opening round of the Blue Star Elite Tournament. In the title game, St. Basil earned a 51-37 win over the Cardinals. Derr had 10 points to lead the Flying Cardinals.
William Tennent defeated the host team in the opening round of the Punxsutawney Tournament, downing Punxsutawney 46-28. Megan Zimmerman led the Panthers with 13 points. In the title game, undefeated Hazleton, ranked eighth in the state, earned a 49-25 win.
Central Bucks South split its two games at the Red Lion Tournament, falling to Altoona 57-40 in the opener but coming back to defeat Ridley 47-36 in the consolation round. Brittany Kaewell led the Titans with 11 points against Altoona. Katelyn Schneider scored 11 points in the Titans’ win over Ridley.
Bensalem and Cheltenham squared off in an all-SOL tilt. Both Bensalem and Cheltenham boasted identical 6-1 records entering last Tuesday’s non-league contest, but it was the Panthers notching their sixth consecutive win with a 71-33 romp. While Sharmane Hall (16 points, 16 rebounds) was a one-woman show for the Owls, the Lady Panthers used a balanced attack that featured double-figure efforts by Monet Constant (18 points), Shayla Felder (14 points), Dayna McCrewell (12 points) and Liz Taliaferro (10 points).
Central Bucks West received 14 points from Meghan Vazquez, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Merion Mercy, a 44-24 winner, in the Wildwood Classic. In a consolation round game, the Bucks fell to Mainland 43-23.
Plymouth Whitemarsh fell to Engineering and Science 42-38 in the opening round of the Catholic War Veterans Tournament. Meg Piotrowicz led the Colonials with 14 points while Alyssa Butcher had 10. In a consolation round game, the Colonials downed Kennedy Kenrick 50-30. Piotrowicz scored 21 while Angie Branigan added 12. The Colonials extended former SOL foe Methacton to double overtime before falling 46-40 in a non-league battle.’s Fab Five
  1. Council Rock North (9-1)
  2. Cheltenham (7-1)
  3. Central Bucks East (7-1)
  4. Abington (7-2)
  5. Quakertown (7-2)
Under consideration: Souderton (7-2), Bensalem (6-2), Upper Merion (7-3), Wissahickon (7-3)
The Patriot-News State Girls’ Rankings (Jan. 4, 2008)
Class AAAA
  1. Cardinal O’Hara (12) 9-0
  2. Central Dauphin (3) 10-0
  3. Mt. Lebanon (7) 10-0
  4. Downingtown East (1) 9-1
  5. Butler (7) 9-1
  6. Liberty (11) 7-1
  7. Bethel Park (7) 11-0
  8. Hazleton (2) 10-0
  9. Altoona (6) 9-1
  10. Archbishop Ryan (12) 9-1
Honorable Mention: Central (12) 7-0, Central Dauphin East (3) 8-2, Cheltenham (1) 7-1, Council Rock North (1) 9-1, Downingtown West (1) 7-3, Liberty (11) 7-1, Lower Merion (1) 6-1, McDowell (10) 11-1, Upper Darby (1) 11-1)