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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Final Week of FSL Play Approaches, See Key Wins and Accolades in The Week's Notebook

By Marc Narducci, 01/30/24, 10:30AM EST


Girls Basketball Notebook – Enjoyable recruiting process for Westtown’s Curry, a big honor for Westtown coach, a key win for Barrack Hebrew Academy, a winning week for ANC

Photos: Zack Beavers, Donna Eckert, Kathy Leister, Lennie Malmgren, Dylan Precious

By: Marc Narducci

For Westtown senior Savannah Curry, the recruiting process was an enjoyable experience. Sometimes it can be a hectic undertaking, with schools calling all the time, making their sales pitch.

In this case, it was Temple that won the sweepstakes for the 5-11 Curry who committed to the Owls in July. As with most recruits, Curry was relieved when she made her decision, but she enjoyed the entire process.

“It was fun and it’s great at a young age to get recognized and noticed by college coaches,” she said. “It was eye-opening, a really nice experience and a confidence booster.”

As in many cases, it was the head coach, Temple’s Diane Richardson, who had a major impact on Curry’s decision.

“The relationship I had with the coaches, with coach Rich, has been great,” Curry said. “At the end of the day, she stood by me the most.”

This is Curry’s second season at Westtown. She is from Maryland and attended high school her first two years at Roland Park in Baltimore County.

What attracted to her most about Westtown was the reputation of the program, one that has won three consecutive Friends League schedule and often plays national-caliber opponents in non-league games.

“The basketball part of it was a motivating factor and coach Fran (Burbidge) was a big reason as well,” she said.

And she is glad that she made the move.

“School-wise and basketball-wise it has really helped me,” she said.

Curry has helped the program as well.

She has been a serious threat from three-point range and a defender who takes on all challenges.

Westtown senior Savannah Curry #5 - PSD Photo by Dylan Precious

“She is very versatile,” Burbidge said of Curry. “She is probably labeled a 2-3 (shooting guard, small forward) but she can guard the 4 (power forward), can guard the 1 (point guard). She is a very good defensive player and a very good shooter.”

Curry has also become a mentor to a relatively young Westtown team that features super freshmen Jordyn Palmer and Jessie Moses and sophomore wing Atlee Vanesko.

“I was named a captain and am grateful to show that leadership,” she said. “I try to lead the girls and give them help to make them better.”

Curry and her Westtown teammates have continued to get better, which is why they are the favorites to make it a four-peat in the Friends League.

Big honor for Burbidge

Westtown’s Burbidge has been named as the head coach of the East squad in the McDonald’s All-American Game, April 2 at Houston’s Toyota Center. Burbidge is being recognized for his many years of coaching success.

“I was completely caught off guard,” he said. “It is very humbling, and I am very appreciative of it.”

He said so many people should share in this honor.

“A lot of people come into play in this,” he said. “Most importantly, all the kids I have coached and all the people I have coached with, have helped me along my journey.”

Burbidge had one person in particular to thank for this honor.

“The biggest shoutout I have to give is Kevin Lynch, the director of the Philly Rise Nike EYBL, a McDonald’s (All-American Team) committee member and prominent all across the country in girls basketball,” Burbidge said. “Kevin never said anything to me, but I am confident that he nominated me, and he is one of the premier figures in girls’ basketball across the country and a really good guy and dear friend.”

Westtown girls basketball head coach Fran Burbidge - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister

Fran Burbidge addresses his team - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

Burbidge was allowed to pick his two assistant coaches, with certain criteria, including being a high school coach for a certain number of years.

He chose Kylynn McNichol, the head coach of Springfield Delco and her assistant, Franny Burbidge.

Yes, Franny is the son of Fran.

“Both my son and Kylynn have been coaching for 20 years and they are great coaches,” he said. “It will be great sharing this with them.”

More on Westtown

The 6-1 Palmer led the way as Westtown scored a win over Archbishop Wood in the Play by Play Classic at Jefferson University. Palmer was named the game MVP by scoring 21 points. Moses added 13 points.

In a win over Germantown Friends, Palmer and Curry led the balanced scoring attack with 11 points each.

On Friday, the Moose improved to 19-2 overall and 6-0 in the Friends League with a win over the George School. It was Westtown’s 16th consecutive win. Palmer scored 26 points, Curry added 19 and Moses scored 13.

Westtown Freshman Jordyn Palmer in game vs. Friends' Central. (photo/ Dylan Precious for PSD)

Neff leads Barrack Hebrew to second Friends League win

Barrack Hebrew Academy earned its second Friends League win with a 55-33 victory over Friends Select. Sami Neff, a 5-6 sophomore, led the way for the Cougars with 19 points. Classmate Mikayla Trajtenberg had 11 points and junior Ariel Shavit scored 10, with 5-9 senior Talia Cohen scoring eight points.

“I think the key to the win was that we were aggressive on both ends of the court,” Barrack Hebrew coach Sasha Birosik said. “Defensively, we were able to force stops and get out in the transition more and offensively, everyone was looking to be a threat and score. It was a great team win.”

Barrack Hebrew Academy sophomore Sami Neff #3 - PSD Photo by Donna Eckert

Impressive non-league and Friends League wins for Friends' Central

Friends' Central had an impressive 83-59 win over perennial Delaware power Ursuline Academy, as five players scored in double figures. Logyn Greer, the 6-3 junior, who has been enjoying a dominating season, led Friends Central with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Nal’La Bennett, a 5-8 junior, added 15 points and 6-1 junior Kaiya Rain Tucker had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Point guard Saniyah Washington had a double-double – 10 points and 10 assists, along with four steals. Jordyn Adderly, a 5-11 junior, contributed six points and 11 rebounds.

In Friends League action, Friends' Central earned a 58-22 win over Germantown Friends. Rain Tucker had 14 points and nine rebounds. Faith Watson, a 6-0 eighth grader, added 10 points and 11 rebounds and Greer contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.


Great balance for George School

In a 61-55 win over Shipley, the George School received double figure scoring from four players, led by senior combo guard Sophia Martinez, who had 14 points, seven assists and two steals. Senior center and Delaware commit Gianna Johnson had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Basha Harrington, a 5-9 senior, added 11 points, three assists and three rebounds. She also hit all three of her free throws.

Junior point guard Angela Dawson added 10 points and four steals. Zamiya Lowe, a 5-9 freshman, was a force on the boards with 10 rebounds, to go with six points. That improved the Lady Cougars to 11-7 overall and 4-2 in the Friends League.

“It was a great game,” George School coach La’Keisha Sutton said. “We went up big in the first half and Shipley came back and it was a great effort by both teams.”

This was a game in which the George School kept its composure when Shipley made its run.

“I’m very proud of how composed my team was when Shipley made a run in the second half,” Sutton said.  “Every player executed the game plan and played together for each other. They are a resilient group.”

Johnson had a big game in Friday’s 72-50 loss to Westtown with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Maya Ravindranathan a 5-7 freshman added eight points and two steals and 5-9 senior Basha Harrington had seven points, three rebounds and two assists. George School is now 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the Friends League.

Shipley comeback just falls short

Conversely, Shipley showed poise in getting back into the game with the George School, before falling just short at the end. Shipley made a 26-5 run to get back into the game. It was another balanced attack for Shipley, with six players scoring between nine and 10 points. Sophomore wing Rikai Williford had 10 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.  Sophomore point guard Tay Lasky had nine points, six assists and three rebounds. Junior Anna Pascale added nine points, four rebounds and four assists. Eighth grader Cidney Stanfield had nine points, two rebounds and two assists. Junior guard Mallory Farr had nine points, two rebounds and two assists and eighth grader Halle Newsome contributed nine points.

Two more wins for ANC

Academy of the New Church stepped out of the Friends League and defeated the Peddie School, 60-28 to improve to 13-4.  Senior Xola Wade had 30 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. Classmate Arianna Frank contributed nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Sophomore Jada Mayo added seven points, three steals, two assists, two rebounds and two blocks.

Wade had 26 points and seven steals in a 66-45 win in a Friends League win over Barrack Hebrew Academy. Mayo had 15 points and six steals, and 5-5 senior Te’a Richards had 11 points and four blocks.