Junior point guard Sophie Mercuris runs the offense for Germantown Friends.(Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Using defensive pressure all over the court to force a flurry of turnovers from host Academy of the New Church, the Germantown Friends School Tigers roared to a 54-24 victory last Friday in Bryn Athyn.

GFS, which had the lead up over 20 points at halftime, improved to 2-4 overall and evened up its Friends Schools League record at 1-1. The ANC Lions fell to 0-5 overall.

The Tigers were led on the stat sheet by sophomore forward Caroline Myran, with four rebounds and a game-high 19 points, and freshman guard Imani Ross with 10 points, nine steals, and four rebounds.

“It was good for the girls, because they’ve been working so hard and this will help keep them motivated,” commented Tigers coach James Jordan.

Earlier in the week, GFS had opened its FSL season with a 38-25 loss to Friends Central. FC had only been ahead 19-16 at the half.

“They aren’t as strong this year, but the girls hear “Friends Central” and they have past memories,” Jordan explained. “We played a little timid and nervous. We turned the ball over a lot and they took advantage of it.

“In practice,” the coach continued, “we stressed working the ball around and then taking shots if you’re open. We played much more as a team today against ANC.”

GFS junior Katherine Walden turned a steal into a lay-up right after the tip-off, but the scoreboard ticked over slowly after that, with the Tigers holding a 4-2 edge five minutes into the contest. Ross then scored on a breakaway and Myran got her jump shot dialed in, flinging in four buckets in a minute-and-a-half to power the visitors to a 16-5 lead at the quarter.

Ross began the second period with three lay-ups in transition, and then Myran and junior point guard Sophie Mercuris each stepped out to hit a pair of three-pointers, pumping the lead up to 21 points by halftime, 34-13. The Tigers were up by 27 at the three-quarter mark, and after reserve freshman forward Schuyler Alig (four points total) hit a jumper at the start of the fourth round to make it 48-19, GFS pulled the rest of its starters off the floor for the duration.

“ANC fought hard and their girl in the middle did a good job,” said Germantown’s Jordan, referring to freshman center Lucy Raymond, who led the Lions with 15 points. New Church received six points from Laura Clymer, two from Rachel Rose, and one from Natalie Daum.

GFS got six points, four rebounds, and three assists from junior Katherine Walden and two points apiece from senior Alex Clarke (three rebounds, three steals) and juniors Eden Beschen and Lucy Guida.

Junior point guard Sophie Mercuris scored nine points, picked up eight steals, and did a masterful job of conducting the GFS offense.

“Sophie has matured on and off the court,” said Jordan. “She has really made a big step this season from the two previous years. She works hard in practice, motivates her teammates, and has become a leader for our team.”