Plymouth Whitemarsh senior Erin Martin (left), who transferred from Penn Charter a year ago, blocks a shot by Springside junior Gianna Pownall. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by  Tom Utescher

Perhaps the most encouraging measure of a team is how it performs in challenging games, and Springside’s summer hoops squad won two such contests last week in the Lou Cappiella League. On each occasion, the Lions fell behind during the second half, but on Monday night they came back to squeeze past Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, 25-24, and on Wednesday they rallied to defeat Norristown High, 36-28.

Plymouth Whitemarsh scored first on Monday, but a free throw by sophomore Katie Shields (two points total) and a three-pointer by junior Alyssa Isackman tied the bout at 4-4. At halftime the teams were still even, now at 11-all, with Springside getting field goals from freshman Olivia Byron, sophomore Julia Schumacher, and senior Aly Markey and a free throw from junior Gianna Pownall.

A battle of siblings failed to come about as Schumacher’s older sister Gabby, a senior at PW, was on the injured list and did not play for the Colonials.

Throughout the game, the Lions had trouble getting the ball inside to power forward Michelle Boggs, failing to capitalize on the stature of their tallest player. The 6’1” senior’s only points of the night came on a lay-up that tied the score at 20-all with seven minutes left to play. Fortunately for Springside Pownall, a guard, came on to score 11 of her game-high 12 points in the second half.

Leading the Colonials, with 11 points for the night, was senior Erin Martin, who played for Penn Charter as a freshman and sophomore, then switched over to Plymouth Whitemarsh last fall for her junior year. With 14 seconds remaining in the game Springside held a 25-24 lead and also had the basketball. PW had to foul twice to put the Lions in the bonus, but although the Hill girls came up empty on two one-and-ones in the last six seconds, they pulled out a win as a final outside shot by the Colonials missed the mark.

Two nights later, Springside made much better use of Boggs, who scored a game-high 16 points and helped the Lions control Norristown’s 6’3” Tyshay Britten. Early in the affair Springside’s ballhandlers frequently had their pockets picked by the Eagles’ guards, but the locals learned to take better care of the ball as the game went on. In the first half Boggs deposited nine points and Pownall scored four of her total of 10, guiding the Lions to a 16-12 halftime advantage.

The first five minutes of the second half saw Norristown make some headway against the Springside reserves, and the Eagles inched ahead, 21-20. A free throw by Byron put the Lions back on equal footing, and the score seesawed up to 26-all with a little over six minutes to play.

A drive by Pownall launched the final push for Springside, and the Lions’ defense held the Eagles to a pair of free throws the rest of the way. A two-for-seven effort at the foul line by the Lions kept the issue in doubt until the final minute, though. It was 32-28 with about 40 seconds to go, but lay-ups by Boggs and Pownall sealed the deal.

Springside received three points apiece from Byron and Shields, two from sophomore Madi Sehn, and one from junior Maddi Hinchey.