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  December 25, 2008 Issue                                       

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GA wins battle of unbeatens

When two unbeaten teams met last Saturday, junior Maggie Lucas dropped 28 points on the Shipley Gators to lead Germantown Academy to victory.  (photo by Tom Utescher)

Last Saturday’s basketball bout at Shipley School matched up defending league champions who each entered the contest without a loss this season, but observers who had more than a passing acquaintance with the Gators and the visiting Germantown Academy Patriots weren’t expecting the game to go down to the wire.

GA, the defending champ in the Girls Inter-Ac League, scored the first 12 points of the afternoon and never took a backward glance, proceeding to a 79-51 win over Shipley, the titleholder in the Friends Schools League. Junior sharpshooter Maggie Lucas hit four three-pointers and led all scorers with 28 points to help the Pats push their record to 7-0, while Shipley slipped to 8-1 despite 20 points and a dozen rebounds from senior forward Alex Lennon. Each team is off to a 2-0 start in its respective league this season.

The Patriots had crossed the Schuylkill earlier in the week as well, rolling to a 68-28 win in a Girls Inter-Ac League contest at Episcopal Academy. GA took control of that affair at the outset, building an 18-5 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Lucas put up a game-high 20 points and Jesse Carey and Tory Thierolf each scored a dozen, while Meredith Carber and Dana Lotito added eight and six points respectively. The previous weekend, the 1,000-point career scoring barrier had been breached by Lucas, a junior who has made a verbal commitment to Penn State.

Carey, a senior point guard who will play for Villanova, said that Germantown didn’t know a lot of specifics about Shipley going into Saturday’s game.

“We knew they were undefeated and they would be competitive,” she said, “but basically we come out every time preparing ourselves for a big game.

“We push the ball a lot,” continued Carey, who had 11 points, six rebounds, and four assists. “Our transition helps us get the momentum going our way. We don’t even get into that many set plays at the beginning of a game. On defense, we pressure the ball a lot to get those early steals.”

Shipley turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter as the visitors broke out to a 26-7 lead. The Gators collected themselves a bit in the second period, but at halftime they found themselves doubled up, 48-24. Lucas, with a total of 22 points already in the books, had knocked down three three-point baskets, including one of her hyper-treys from a few yards outside the loop. Fouled on two other perimeter attempts, she shot six-for-six at the free-throw line.

Helping put the Gators’ defense off-balance, sophomore guard Monica Schacker stuck a pair of three-pointers and also hit a shorter jumper to collect all eight of her points before halftime.

Both teams fouled a lot throughout the game, GA a little more than Shipley, but of a possible 26 points attainable at the foul line (including a few hypothetical second shots on one-and-ones) the Gators only garnered 12.

A lay-up by Jordyn Turner (five points, five rebounds), a baseline shot by Lennon, and a three-pointer by Mo Gentry allowed Shipley to bring the lead under 20 points early in the third quarter (50-31), but GA picked up steam again and was ahead 63-35 at the three quarter mark. The Pats led by as many as 30 points (68-38) early in the fourth period.

Quietly effective, Thierolf blocked five shots and gave Germantown four points, seven steals, and five rebounds. Freshman Jaryn Garner put up seven points and seniors Laura Karbach (five rebounds) and Meredith Carber scored six apiece.

The Pats have just about all of their players back from the 2007-08 season, and Carey noted, “Everyone’s more experienced and our chemistry is definitely more advanced than it was at this time last year.”

Aside from Lennon’s performance, a positive note for Shipley was a 15-point outing for guard Brianna Ross, a freshman transfer from Agnes Irwin.