In the PIAA District 1 Class 5A basketball tournament, Mount St. Joseph Academy won in the first round and lost in the quarterfinals. The Magic then guaranteed themselves a spot among the six District 1 teams.
In the PIAA District 1 Class 5A basketball tournament, Mount St. Joseph Academy won in the first round and lost in the quarterfinals. The seventh-seeded Magic then guaranteed themselves a spot among the six District 1 teams to make the state tournament, winning their first game in the four-team play-in bracket by 20 points over Phoenixville High School on February 24.
The Mounties wrapped up District 1 competition last week on the final day of February, travelling to Upper Moreland High School for a seeding game that would determine which teams would be the district's fifth and sixth seeds for States.
Leading by four points at halftime, the visiting Magic were again four points ahead of the fifth-seeded Bears two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Fouling a bit too much on defense, the Mount gave Upper Moreland the opportunity to go seven-for-11 at the free throw line during the period and pull out a 30-26 victory. This left Mount St. Joe with an overall record of 13-14 and a daunting task in the first round of the state tournament. The sixth seed out of District 1 lines up in the bracket against the top seed from District 12, which happens to be defending state champion Archbishop Wood High School from the Philadelphia Catholic League.
Upper Moreland is not likely to have an easier match-up; the Bears will play District 11 champ Bethlehem Catholic, a traditional power in the Lehigh Valley.
The Mount Magic had finished third within the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies this winter, and fellow AACA members Villa Maria and Gwynedd Mercy are seeded ahead of the Mount for the 5A state tourney. Gwynedd will be fourth, and AACA champion Villa became the second seed after losing Saturday's District 1 championship game to Bayard Rustin High School, 54-43.
In last Tuesday's seeding game, Upper Moreland junior Holly Gohl knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner to open the scoring, but the Mount quickly got on the board with a lay-up by senior Georgia Pickett. These players would lead their respective teams in scoring, Gohl with 13 points and Pickett with 12.
Pickett, who scored eight points in the opening quarter, had a putback with two seconds left that tied the contest at 10-10.
Gohl again kicked off the scoring as the second quarter began, this time with a lay-up. The Bears wouldn't score again before halftime, though. Two free throws by MSJ senior point guard Kiersten Pumilia tied things up at 12-12, then the visitors forged ahead on a drive by fellow senior Lauren Hoffman. In the final minute, a steal by Pumilia set up another score by Hoffman, and the Mounties held a 16-12 advantage at halftime.
While both squads played fairly tough defense, each team also missed a number of relatively unpressured shots over the course of the evening.
Over the initial four minutes of the third quarter, the host Bears blended jumpers with lay-ups to outscore the Magic 9-2 and assume a 21-18 lead. Pickett revived the Mount with a short jumper and then Hoffman stuck a "three" to send Mount St. Joe into the final period with a 23-21 edge.
Pickett cut to the basket for a lay-up that had the Magic up by four points early in round four, but the Mounties would only manage to score a lone free throw the rest of the way. Two made free throws by Mikel Lancit got Upper Moreland going in the fourth quarter, and with this being the Mount's sixth team foul, the Bears would be in the bonus the rest of the evening.
UM's Marie Meyers connected on both ends of a one-and-one to tie the affair at 25-all, then Mount St. Joe led one last time when Hoffman made the second of two foul shots with 1:46 remaining.
What proved to be the winning basket came on a drive along the right baseline by Meyers, who saw the ball hop up off the rim before dropping through the net to make it 27-26. Scoring one point on each of three trips to the foul line, the Bears gradually increased their lead while the Mounties missed a lay-up and a three-point shot, and also turned the ball over with an errant pass.
The last of the shots Upper Moreland made from the charity stripe (by Gohl) put the 30-26 final score on the board with 20 seconds to play.
Mount St. Joseph backed up Pickett's scoring with eight points from Hoffman and two points apiece from Pumulia and senior classmates Chloe McGrorty and Carlie Shouldis. Following Gohl in Upper Moreland's scoring column were Lancit, with six points, Meyers, with four, Alyssa Wiley, with three, and Allie LaRocco and EmmyFaith Ward, with two points each.