Along with its fellow members in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, Mount St. Joseph Academy started basketball team practice last Monday. Later in the week, Governor Wolf's latest order …
Along with its fellow members in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, Mount St. Joseph Academy started basketball team practice last Monday. Later in the week, Governor Wolf's latest order put scholastic sports on hold until early January, but the Mount had already sorted out its varsity and junior varsity teams and will be ready to resume activity when allowed.
The Magic had originally been slated to play three league contests before Christmas, but after that there was a gap in the game schedule until January 11, a week after the state lockdown is supposed to expire.
It's a good thing that the Mount got in at least a few early practices, since there's been quite a turnover in personnel from the 2019-20 squad. Six seniors graduated, including four starters, and one of last year's juniors did not come out for the team this time around.
The Magic do have their high scorer returning, though. Grace Niekelski, a six-foot guard/forward who has committed to Dartmouth College, passed the 1000-point mark in career scoring in the middle of her junior season. This season she'll be team co-captain along with classmate Paige Metzler, a guard who gained some varsity playing experience as a sophomore.
Two more backcourt players, Ilsa Maguire and Claire Moxey, have moved up from last year's JV. Moxey, also a softball catcher, is a graduate of Norwood Fontbonne Academy.
There were no sophomores on Mount St. Joe's 2019-20 varsity roster, but two of last year's 10th graders on the JV squad, forwards Devon Diehl and Emma Gelone, have risen to the varsity ranks. Gelone is another NFA grad.
Returning for the Magic are three athletes who made the top team last year as freshmen; forward Georgia Pickett and guards Lauren Hoffman and Keirsten Pumilia.
Pickett is now being reunited with a former classmate from St. Philip Neri School in Lafayette Hill. Guard Chloe McGrorty has transferred to the Mount after spending her freshman year at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. Forward Emily Birmingham is the only ninth-grader to earn a spot on the 2020-21 varsity roster.
Back for a second season in charge of the Mount program are head coach Matt Feeney and assistant Joe Pensabene. Ryann Gallgher, a 2008 graduate of the Mount, has been a varsity assistant for many years. Running the JV program is Archie Alston, who is also an assistant coach for the Magic's varsity lacrosse team.