GRATERFORD >> During the first couple years of her high school basketball career, she was commonly known as ‘the other Katie Armstrong’ across the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
Yet all season long, Boyertown senior Katie Armstrong has been making a name for herself. Wednesday night served as another signature performance as the Bears captured their second Pioneer Athletic Conference championship in the past three seasons with a 47-44 win over Methacton.
Fittingly, Armstrong cut down the net and held up the championship plaque on the same court that Perkiomen Valley grad and current Saint Joseph’s University freshman KT Armstrong used to call home.
“As a sophomore, I got called up to play one of my first varsity games here,” recalled Armstrong of Perkiomen Valley High School. “During pregame intros, the announcer said ‘Katie Armstrong for Boyertown.’ Then later, it was ‘KT Armstrong for Perk Valley.’
“I still remember, she (KT Armstrong) turned to me during the game and said ‘So, you’re the other Katie Armstrong.’ That was a really cool moment for both of us to be on the court at the same time.”
Armstrong needed no further introductions Wednesday night.
Just a few days after sparking the Bears with eight overtime points during their PAC semifinal win over Spring-Ford on Saturday, the Boyertown senior showed no signs of slowing down.
Armstrong was instrumental in the early going, wreaking havoc on the defensive end while helping push top-seeded Boyertown to an early 21-3 advantage over No. 3 seeded Methacton just two minutes into the second quarter. She finished the first quarter with four steals — including a beautiful pick-pocket at midcourt where she then found a streaking Victoria Boalton for two to cap an 8-0 run at the start — to go along with two assists and a pair of blocks.
Quite a transition, considering how far she’s come since she first landed on the varsity roster her sophomore year.
“As a sophomore and as a junior, we didn’t get her on the court that much and that was frustrating,” said Boyertown head coach Jason Bieber. “We always knew the potential she had, but we just couldn’t find ways to get her on the court.
“She’s the reason we can have success now. She steps up in so many different ways — making a pass, getting a rebound or hitting a big three. She’s been there.”
On this particular night, Armstrong’s play was instrumental, especially when standout forward Abby Kapp got herself into foul trouble during the first half. Manning the low-post, Armstrong finished with a team-high 12 points, including a 4-for-7 effort from the field.
She knocked down a clutch 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter amid Methacton’s 15-6 run where the Warriors refused to go down quietly. Senior Ryan DeOrio and freshman Sydney Tornetta were electric during the fourth quarter, combining for 11 of the Warriors’ 14 points in the frame as Methacton roared back and gained its first lead at 39-38 on DeOrio’s and-one basket. For the night, DeOrio scored a game-high 17 points while Tornetta had 16 points and finished 3-for-4 from the free throw line.
But the night belonged to Armstrong and the Bears.
Clinging on to a two-point lead with just 1.8 seconds left, Armstrong earned herself a trip to the free-throw line where she knocked down the game’s final point.
“Her effort all year has been there,” said Bieber. “Katie knows her role. She knows what she needs to do out there for us to be successful. I think that really showed tonight. She stepped up and played huge.”
After cutting down the nets her sophomore season, then watching a KT Amrstrong-led Perkiomen Valley do the same the following season, Katie Armstrong described Wednesday night as the sweetest win yet.
“It was fun, it was definitely special winning this my sophomore year,” said Armstrong, “but to come back here and do this my senior year, it’s a whole different thing. We knew this was our last chance to do it.”
Although the name Katie Armstrong may not one day dangle from the Boyertown rafters the way KT Armstrong’s does at Perkiomen Valley, the senior certainly put her signature on the Bears’ championship run this season.