March 11, 2010

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Different season, familiar ending for CHC men’s hoops

CHC’s Francis Ashe (left) drives on Russell Frederick of Philadelphia University (right).

On the first of March, the Chestnut Hill College men’s basketball team saw its season end the same way it did in 2009, with a loss in the opening round of conference playoffs at Philadelphia University, the alma mater of Griffins coach Jesse Balcer.

Up until the last game of the regular season it looked as though CHC would avoid a first-round playoff date with the Philly U. Rams, the top-seeded team in the Southern Division of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. Chestnut Hill appeared headed for the third seed, but on the last weekend of February, Wilmington University defeated both the Griffins (56-55) and Northern Division leader Bloomfield College. This gave Wilmington the third seed and dropped the Griffins to number four, matching them up against the Rams.

Overtime win puts Mount back in state tournament

In a District 1 semifinal game, the Mount’s Steph Smith (#31) goes up for a shot while being double-teamed by Maddie McTigue (left) and Laura Zarkoski (right) of Villa Maria Academy.

In Coach John Miller’s four-year tenure, Mount St. Joseph Academy has never lost two games in a row, nor has the Magic ever failed to earn a spot in the PIAA Class AAA state tournament.

Both streaks were put on the line last week in the concluding chapters of the 2010 District 1 tournament. On Tuesday, the Mount lost a district semifinal contest, 51-40, to a fellow Catholic Academies club, Villa Maria. By advancing to the championship game, Villa and fellow finalist St. Basil locked up two of the three spots available to District 1 teams in the state tourney, while the Mount would have to vie for that last PIAA berth with Springfield (Delco) High School. The Cougars had lost to Catholic Academies champ St. Basil in Tuesday’s other semifinal, 46-41.

In a Saturday play-in game with Springfield, the Magic came from behind to send the contest into overtime, then had junior Steph Smith complete a lay-up-and-one sequence with ten seconds remaining in OT to pull out a 38-36 win.

As a result, the Mount will play a first-round state tournament game this Saturday against the District 3 runner-up, the Bulldogs of West York High School (27-2). The contest is slated for a 3:00 PM start at Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg.


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