With Notre Dame loss, GA likely to tie in league again

by Tom Utescher
Posted 2/9/23

Late last week, Penn Charter was pretty much assured of making an undefeated run to its second straight championship in girls' basketball. However, on Friday night there was a pitched battle for second place.

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With Notre Dame loss, GA likely to tie in league again


Late last week, Penn Charter was pretty much assured of making an undefeated run to its second straight Inter-Ac League championship in girls' basketball. However, on Friday night there was a pitched battle for second place in the league, or a share of it.

Germantown Academy and the Academy of Notre Dame had tied as Inter-Ac runner-up last season, and in their first encounter this winter, GA had pulled out a 48-43 victory at Notre Dame on January 10. With a win over the Irish at home last Friday, the GA Patriots would finish alone in second place for the 2022-23 season.

As it turned out, the two teams will almost certainly share the second spot once more. After Notre Dame went up by as many as nine points early in the second quarter, GA rallied to lead 27-25 at the half. The Irish had edged ahead by a point at the close of the third quarter, then they once again got up by eight points, 48-40, with two minutes left to play.

Foul trouble hobbled the Patriots in the stretch run. One player fouled out and Notre Dame got into the bonus and then the double bonus. The Irish shot 10-for-13 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and earned a 58-50 victory.

With that result, both GA (16-10 overall) and Notre Dame (14-10) had Inter-Ac records of 8-3, with one league game still to play.

GA will face Episcopal Academy, a team it beat by 39 points the first time around, while Notre Dame plays a Springside Chestnut Hill squad it defeated by 29 points at SCH.

Last Friday the GA player who fouled out at the end, junior guard Sam Wade, was also the Patriots' high scorer, with 13 points. Sophomore guard Gabby Bowes had 10 points and senior center Kendall Bennett and junior forward Jessica Aponik scored nine points apiece.

Senior guard Annie Greek led the Irish with 17 points, and junior forward Lizzie Halligan totaled 13, with three three-pointers. The Irish hit seven three-pointers to GA's four, and when they missed outside shots they were often able to track down the long offensive rebounds.

The game actually opened with consecutive treys by AND's Catie Kelly, GA's Aponik, and Notre Dame's Halligan. The Patriots' Bennett was first to score from the paint. Later, Wade got on the board with a scoop shot that tied the bout at 10-10, then Greek and Halligan each made successful drives for the Irish.

GA missed a lay-up at the end of the quarter, so the score remained 14-10. Bennett scored twice on the inside early in the second period, but Notre Dame blended three-pointers with shorter field goals to increase its lead. GA called time-out with 5:28 left in the first half, with the score 24-16.

Notre Dame was already in the foul bonus, and when play resumed the Irish extracted one point from a one-and-one, resulting in a nine-point lead that was the largest margin for either team all evening.

Germantown's resurgence began right in the middle of the period with Bowes hitting a "three" from the right corner. Wade made one of two free throws and the Irish whiffed on the first shot of two straight one-and-one's. Bowes put away a pair of free throws, then Wade balanced the scoreboard at 25-all with a three-pointer from near the left corner.

A steal around midcourt by Bennett led to a lay-up by Wade with less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, giving GA its first lead of the game. It was still 27-25 at the break, after Notre Dame couldn't find the hoop on a last-second drive.

Aponik scored two of her three lay-ups for the third quarter at the beginning of the period to help the Patriots remain in front for a while.

Around three minutes in, Greek converted a traditional three-point play to tie things up at 32-all, and at the end of the third round the visitors led 37-36.

In the early minutes of the fourth frame Wade scored off an offensive rebound, but that shot was sandwiched between three-pointers from opposite sides of the floor by AND's Halligan. Germantown missed two free throws but did get a lay-up from Wade to move within three points of the visitors, at 43-40.

Aponik stole the ball back for GA but the Pats missed a lay-up in transition, and the Irish were still up three when they called time-out with 3:32 left in the game. Their position was strengthened by a trey from Greek, and later on a lay-up by Katie Halligan had Notre Dame ahead 48-40 with a little over two minutes to go.

The Patriots' next possession ended with a shot clock violation, but then they came up with a steal that led to a lay-up and free throw by sophomore Jessica Kolecki. Notre Dame then got into the bonus and made both shots on a one-and-one, but the lead was back down to five points (50-45) with a score from the paint by Bennett with a little under a minute-and-a-half remaining.

For the next minute all the scoring came from the foul line, and the Irish had the better of it as they shot five-for-seven while GA was two-for-four. It was now 55-47, then GA's Bowes got her team back within five with a triple from the left wing with 17 seconds on the clock.

Notre Dame netted one point from the free throw line on a double bonus opportunity, and on the Patriots' next possession their initial shot missed and a follow-up attempt was blocked. Notre Dame's Sophie Hall wrapped up the visitors' victory with two made free throws with under two seconds to play.

In addition to the output of the four leading scorers, GA received four points apiece from Kolecki and junior Izzy Casey, and one from junior Jenna Aponik. Notre Dame got 10 points from Kelly, nine from Chloe Knox, eight from Katie Halligan, and two from Hall.