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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Seven PCL Squads Advance to Second Round of PIAA Tournament

By John Knebels (photos by: Kathy Leister, Donna Eckert & Patty Morgan), 03/10/20, 3:30PM EDT


By: John Knebels

Photos/Videos: John Knebels, Kathy Leister, Donna Eckert, Patty Morgan and Rachel Macauley


Strong Catholic League representation.

In the first round of the PIAA state tournament this past weekend, seven teams that represent the Philadelphia Catholic League successfully advanced. For those that forge ahead after this week’s second round, a state quarterfinal would beckon Friday or Saturday.

But first things first.

“It was great to see the team respond with a quick start,” said Lansdale Catholic coach Eric Gidney, whose Crusaders defeated Bermudian Springs, 63-48. “We knew we weren’t going to surprise anyone as we might have done in the first round of states last year. We had a target on us being District 12 champions, and we made a statement very early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead.”

The Class 4A Crusaders (23-3) never trailed, outscoring their opponent in every quarter. Junior Timaya Lewis-Eutsey (18 points), junior Riley DeVitis (17; 9 of 12 from the foul line), freshman Gabby Casey (13), and sophomore Lauren Edwards (12) paced a balanced scoring attack.

Next up is Dallas High School (District 2, Seed 2; 23-5 overall record) 6 PM Wednesday at Easton Middle School.

“The team is excited about continuing our season,” said Gidney. “It’s an opportunity for 13 great teammates being able to continue to be together and see where this journey can take us.”

Meanwhile, Class 4A Bonner-Prendergast defeated Jim Thorpe, 52-44, behind junior Alexis Eagan (21 points; 5-for-9 on threes; 6 for 6 from the foul line), sophomore Bridie McCann (11 points; key three-pointer down the stretch), junior Reagan Dolan (four points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and three blocks), sophomore Emma Beaty (nine points), and senior Alexis Gleason (seven points).

The Pandas (9-16) will meet Eastern York (3-2; 19-8) 5 PM Wednesday at the Reading Geigle Complex.

Meanwhile, Class 4A Bonner-Prendergast defeated Jim Thorpe, 52-44, behind junior Alexis Eagan (21 points; 5-for-9 on threes; 6 for 6 from the foul line), sophomore Bridie McCann (11 points; key three-pointer down the stretch), junior Reagan Dolan (four points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and three blocks), sophomore Emma Beaty (nine points), and senior Alexis Gleason (seven points).

The Pandas (9-16) will meet Eastern York (3-2; 19-8) 6 PM Wednesday at Coatesville High School.

“It was exciting,” said Gleason. “We were hungry for the win. It was a complete team effort. The key to winning the game was defense. In the end, it came down to foul shooting.”

Being a senior Gleason realizes that there really is no tomorrow.

“Others have counted us out, but we aren’t going down without a fight,” said Gleason. “I have one last chance to make something great happen wearing a Prendie uniform. I know every time I step onto the court, it could be my last. I’m not ready for my last game. With that said, I want to keep moving north with my team.”

Archbishop Wood forced double-digit turnovers, opened up a big lead, and coasted past Berks Catholic, 70-37. Sophomore Ryanne Allen’s 18 points and junior Kaitlin Orihel’s 16 helped the Class 5A Vikings procure extra work for the non-starters.

Hoping to ultimately reach the state final for the ninth time in 11 years, the District 12-champ Vikings (20-7) will face Twin Valley (3-2; 22-7) 7:30 Wednesday at Pottsgrove High School.

“It was a great first-round win for us,” said senior Lindsay Tretter. “We went out, played really aggressively on defense, attacked right from the start, and didn’t let up the whole game. Moving on, we are just looking to improve from that game and step it up a notch, because each round is going to keep getting harder, and we want to prepare ourselves and be the best team that we can be by the time the championship comes around.”

The team’s only other senior, Izzy Larsen, likes what she sees from her teammates.

“I feel like we are really starting to jell together and play as a unit,” said Larsen. “It was a very fun game. We were all super into it and supportive of one another.”

Archbishop Wood vs. Berks Catholic (video by Rachel Macauley for PSD).

Wood's Ryanne Allen talks about what attributed to this win. (Video by Rachel Macauley for PSD)

Allen immediately looked ahead.

“We had a long time to prepare for this one and work on different things, and we came out and executed,” said Allen. “We just have to stay true to what we have been doing all season, and just play Wood basketball like we know we can.”

Archbishop Carroll overcame a nine-point deficit in the second quarter and dispatched Mount St. Joseph Academy, 47-41. The Class 5A Patriots (15-10) face West Scranton (2-1; 17-9) 6 PM Wednesday at Bethlehem’s Liberty High School.

Should Wood and Carroll both win, they would face each other in the quarterfinals.

“We started the game very tight but were able to loosen up as the game progressed,” said Carroll coach Renie Shields. “We’re looking forward to playing a very good West Scranton on Wednesday.”

The quartet of sophomore Grace O’Neill (17 points), senior Erin Sweeney (13 points, eight rebounds), freshman Taylor Wilson (nine points, eight boards, key steal in closing minutes), and junior Karli Dougherty (standout defense) propelled the young, but always improving, Patriots.

“It was a good team win,” said Sweeney. “We started off a little slow, but we were able to play better as the game went on and really kept up our toughness. Mount St Joseph’s is a very good team and it was a good learning experience for our team about how tough the competition will be moving forward. We are really excited to be moving on to the next round.”

Catholic League champion and District 12-champ West Catholic overwhelmed Susquenita, 91-38. Highlighting the triumph was junior Destiney McPhaul reaching the career 1,000-point mark. She finished with a game-high 26 points and added eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Junior Daziy Montgomery-Wilson (23 points, five assists), senior Tamiah Robinson (12 points, eight assists), and freshman Amina Reid (11 points) also contributed heavily.

The Class 3A Burrs (18-9) will take on Loyalsock Township (4-2, 24-4) 6 PM Tuesday at Cumberland High School.

West's Destiny McPhaul reached career high 1000 points in game against Susquenita. (Photo by Kathy Leister for PSD).

“We’re focused on one goal – getting better every day,” said West coach Beulah Osueke. “We’re not going to come across a team that’s hungrier than us, so we’re focused on making sure we’re also the smartest, most disciplined, and most unified team.”

West Catholic vs. Susquenita (Highlights by Kathy Leister for PSD)

Osueke was thrilled for McPhaul.

“I think she’s only scratched the surface compared to where she’s going to end up at the end of her high school career,” said Osueke. “I’m so excited to witness her growth as a player, but more importantly as a leader and young woman. She has grown so much, we’re all extremely proud and happy for her. The best is yet to come.”

Another Class 3A squad, Neumann-Goretti, edged St. Basil Academy, 64-61, in a tremendous seesaw battle at Lower Moreland High School.

Taking advantage of Basil’s 16-for-32 shooting from the foul line, the Saints (17-9) rode senior Diamond Jackson’s 35 points and four huge three-pointers by junior Sierra Bermudez to victory.

“This was amazing, but this is not the end,’’ said Bermudez. “We didn’t shut down.”

Johnson, the Catholic League Most Valuable Player and two-time leading scorer, appreciated Bermudez’s marksmanship.

“It takes the pressure off from me,” said Johnson. “People can’t really focus on me how they want to because other players are scoring. She stepped up.

NG senior Diamond Johnson scored game high vs. Basil's talks about the importance of this win. (video by John Knebels for PSD)

NG Junior Sierra Bermudez talks about team mindset going into this game. (Video by John Knebels for PSD)

“We did not want to go home tonight," said Johnson. "We pushed through. We did it for each other. This was a big win, but we still got more to go, so we can’t too excited.”

The PCL’s only Class 6A squad, Cardinal O’Hara, reached 20 victories against only six defeats after speeding past Souderton, 50-30. Junior Amaris Baker’s 12 points and three assists, along with sophomore Annie Welde’s seven points and six rebounds, secured a date with Spring-Ford (1-4, 22-5) 6 PM Tuesday at Bensalem High School.

Cardinal O'Hara vs. Souderton (Highlights by Donna Eckert for PSD).

“We enjoyed a total team victory,” said O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan. “Our bench provided a spark in the second quarter and carried us.

“Tuesday will be a rematch of last year’s second-round game (a 43-37 O’Hara win). Both teams have the majority of their players returning, so it should be a fun matchup. Slowing down their point guard, Lucy Olsen, is easier said than done. We will need to play good team defense for 32 minutes.”

Welde was impressed by her team’s performance.

“It was nice to see us all come together and play as a team,” said Welde. “Bench players stepped up and came focused and ready to play, and the outcome was telling of that.”

  (Contact John Knebels at or on Twitter @johnknebels.)