Both host Chestnut Hill College and visiting Kutztown University needed a victory when the teams met in CHC's Sorgenti Arena.
Both host Chestnut Hill College and visiting Kutztown University needed a victory when the teams met in CHC's Sorgenti Arena on Dec. 9. The host Griffins, dealing with injuries to several important players, were trying to break above the .500 mark as they entered the contest with a 4-4 record.
Kutztown was in worse straits, entering the non-conference bout in Chestnut Hill with a 1-6 mark. However, there were signs that the Golden Bears would be no pushovers. They'd played a strong schedule and, just like the CHC women, they'd lost by only six points to Jefferson University, a power in Chestnut Hill's own Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
Kutztown's roster includes senior Casey Remolde and sophomore Shannon Remolde, sisters who used to do battle with Mount St. Joseph Academy when they played for the now-defunct St. Basil Academy. A senior at Germantown Academy, Jessica Aponik, has signed with Kutztown.
In the recent match-up at Chestnut Hill, the Griffins missed a pair of free throws that would've given them a three-point lead with 12 seconds left. After a Kutztown time-out, the Golden Bears got the ball into the hands of Casey Remolde, who hit a three-pointer that allowed her team to prevail, 53-51.
The St. Basil's alum led her team with 16 points, one ahead of teammate Abbey Hearn. Junior Emily Sekerak, Chestnut Hill's center, put up a game-high 22 points, along with six rebounds and two blocks. Freshman guard Bridie McCann had 15 points, and a strong performance from sophomore point guard Avery White included 10 points, four assists, and three steals.
The game was close the whole way, with neither team achieving a double-digit lead at any time. An opening three-pointer by CHC's McCann was followed by two lay-ups and a free throw by Sekerak to give the Griffins an 8-2 lead a few minutes into the game, but Hearn quickly hit a lay-up for the visitors.
It was 15-all late in the first quarter, then White passed the ball ahead to senior Kait Carter in transition, and a lay-up by Carter (a Penn Charter graduate) made it 17-15 for the start of the second round. There, a 10-10 standoff kept the hosts ahead for halftime, at 27-25.
In the third quarter, the Griffins went up by five early on with a lay-up and free throw by Sekerak, but Kutztown clamped down on the CHC offense and then went ahead midway through the period, 32-30, on a three-pointer by Hearn.
The Golden Bears took a 37-34 edge into the fourth quarter, then a basket from the paint by Sekerak and a trey from the left wing by White moved the home team ahead. And so it went.
With 50 seconds remaining in the game, two free throws by Sekerak had the hosts up by five points, then Remolde hit a "three" from the top of the key and Kutztown immediately called time-out, down 50-48 with 27.4 seconds on the clock.
A few ticks later CHC's White made the second of two foul shots, but a drive by the Bears' Naia Pulliam cut the lead to one point, 51-50. With a dozen seconds left, Chestnut Hill had a chance to go up by three points as McCann went to the free throw line. Uncharacteristically, she missed both shots.
The last time-out either side had available was called by the visitors with 11 seconds to go. They came back out and worked the ball into the middle for Hearn, then she kicked it out toward the left corner for Remolde. She made good from the three-point loop with four seconds left, and a final, desperate heave at the bucket at the far end fell short for the Griffins.
One of the bright spots for the Griffins was the all-around performance of guard Caleigh Edwards, a sophomore transfer from New York City. She scored two points, led the Griffins in rebounds (10) and assists (five), and tied with White for the lead in assists (three).
With injured junior guards Bri Rider and Siobhan Boylan expected to be back in action fairly soon, Chestnut Hill is hoping to get back on the right side of the .500 mark.