By: John Knebels
SOUDERTON, PA – Maeve McCann reached in and may or may not have made contact with her opponent’s hand. A foul was called. She didn’t complain. Then again, who would listen?
With 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter of what would become a 64-50 loss to eventual state champion Bethlehem Catholic in the PIAA Class 4A semifinal March 19 at Souderton High School, McCann’s scholastic career had come to an end with a fifth foul.
Before sitting down on the Bonner-Prendergast bench, an emotional and fatigued McCann was embraced by longtime coach Tom Stewart.
“She has started for almost four years,” said Stewart. “She has played the one, the two, the three . . . she plays extremely hard. This year, she just took off.”
McCann finished with 15 points, the only Panda in double figures. A contest that went back and forth got away from the District 12 champions (19-10) in the fourth quarter, which was tied at 35 thanks to a McCann drive with two seconds remaining in the third.
Later, McCann stood with her sister Bridie, a freshman who had contributed seven points and aggressive defense. Like Maeve, she had left nothing on the court.
The sisters briefly reflected on their unique experience; it is quite rare when a senior and freshman play significant minutes on the same team. Both sisters said they would remember the experience “forever.”
“I was looking forward to it,” said Maeve. “It was better than I expected. I’m more than excited that I got to do it. I’m very happy it happened.”
Bridie, who will undoubtedly be a B-P mainstay next season while Maeve begins her career at nearby Jefferson/Philadelphia University, echoed her older sis.
“I’m happy I got to look up to somebody on the court,” she said.
Before her daughters emerged from the locker room, their mom, Katie, was asked to share her sentiments from a unique point of view.
“There is a lot of emotion, but I never had so much fun watching them play both at the same time, my husband (Chris) and I,” she said. “It was really nice as a mom to watch take Maeve take Bridie under her wing, and Bridie looked up to her for guidance and direction.”
Katie McCann didn’t plan to sugarcoat the “life message” offered by such a tough defeat.
“Gotta take the good with the bad,” she said. “That’s the way sports is.”
The McCann sisters both opined that the Pandas visibly improved during the Catholic League playoffs and during the state tourney bonded more than ever. It was the advanced dedication in practice, they said, that “gelled” the teammates.
Although she did not receive much playing time, senior co-captain Kellie Curran enjoyed her role as a “leader on the bench” and finished with no regrets.
“It’s been tough at times because everyone wants those minutes,” said Curran. “I think once I accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to be a big scorer, I accepted that and kind of went with that.
“I’m grateful for the time I did get. When I was in, I had a blast. This was probably my favorite of all four seasons, ‘cause I have so much love for this team.”
(John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter @johnknebels.)