by Tom Utescher
At least it wasn’t a long ride back to school for the girls of Germantown Friends, who saw their 2012-2013 basketball season come to an end at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy last Tuesday with a 54-32 setback in the opening round of the Pa. Independent Schools Championship Tournament.
The GFS Tigers, the tenth seed in the tourney, stayed within single figures of their hosts on the scoreboard until the middle of the third quarter, then the number seven SCH Lions took control by finishing the period with a 16-0 run, making it 48-25 at the three quarter mark.
Springside Chestnut Hill, which wound up- fourth in the Inter-Ac League this season (7-5), improved to 13-13 overall and went on to play the next day in the tournament quarter finals.
Once Germantown’s Tigers (11-10) got over the initial disappointment of their final outing, they could look back on a season where their program made significant strides. From a 3-5 record within the Friends Schools League the previous year, GFS finished third this winter with a 6-2 mark, and appeared in the FSL tournament semifinals.
In the final game last Tuesday, an opening basket for SCH by junior Madi Sehn was quickly matched by GFS junior forward Caroline Myran, who scored in transition off a pass from senior teammate Katherine Walden. Five minutes into the game, two driving lay-ups and a free throw by sophomore guard Imani Ross and an additional free throw by Myran had the visitors ahead by a point, 8-7.
In the remainder of the opening frame, SCH senior Gianna Pownall sandwiched a pair of three-point field goals around a lay-up by junior Julia Schumacher. Down 15-8 for the start of the second round, Germantown had freshman point guard Lizzie Becker penetrate for a pair of lay-ups, but the Lions continued to hook up from the three-point line, getting one from Pownall and two from freshman Lindsay Hiner.
This, mixed in with a regular field goal by Sehn, propelled the host team to a 26-12 lead midway through the second quarter. It could’ve been all over for the Tigers then and there if they didn’t respond, but a trey by Becker and baskets by Ross and Walden powered a 7-1 run to close out the first half, which ended with a 27-19 tally.
A transition bucket for SCH by Schumacher opened the scoring in the second half, and after the Tigers’ Becker and the Lions’ Sehn exchanged three-pointers, Myran scored off a rebound for GFS and also hit a field goal tacked onto the sequence. Less than three minutes into the third period, Germantown’s 14-point deficit from the middle of the second quarter had been cut in half, with the score now 32-25.
That was as long as the Tigers were able to hang around, thanks to the Pownall sisters of Springside Chestnut Hill. Coming in off the bench, freshman Marissa “Bang” Pownall exploded for three straight three-point field goals. Older sibling Gianna deposited one lay-up, then stole the ball back and put in another. When Sehn sank a “three” at the buzzer, Germantown Friends was facing a 48-25 shortfall for the start of the final round.
“We threw everything at them defensively, but they still kept hitting their outside shots,” said first-year GFS head coach Ashley Webster. “Then after awhile, we weren’t doing very much offensively to counter those three-pointers they were getting, and when that happened their lead grew pretty quickly.”
The Tigers outpointed their hosts in the fourth stanza, 7-6, but after a few minutes both teams had plenty of reserve players on the court to finished out the contest.
Becker led GFS with a dozen points, with Ross, Myran, and Walden adding nine, seven, and four points, respectively. Gianna Pownall had the game high of 18 points, and SCH had two more double-digit scorers in Hiner (12) and Sehn (10). Nine points for Marissa Pownall, four for Schumacher, and one for freshman Singley Risico rounded out the Lions’ total.