BOYERTOWN >> Bucks County teams have been a bother for Boyertown the last two postseasons.
Last year it was Council Rock North shocking the Lady Bears in the first round of the District 1 tournament. Saturday night, No. 7 seed Central Bucks South upset second-seeded Boyertown in the quarterfinals, not eliminating the Lady Bears but denying them the goal of playing in the district finals at Villanova.
In both instances against Bucks teams from the Suburban One League, Boyertown suffered offensive outages. The PAC champs never got their offense going in a 35-32 defeat. It was a tough night for Bucknell-bound Boyertown star Abby Kapp, who started off strong with a nine-point first quarter but got only two thereafter. And the balance that has often accompanied Kapp this season when teams have targeted her just wasn’t there.
Boyertown was plenty good defensively, especially when frantically trapping in the fourth quarter in order to catch up — they forced 11 CB South turnovers in the period. But CB South’s defense was a tad better. And for the second straight year, the Titans are headed for the district semifinals.
“It wasn’t pretty how we finished the game up, but we finished the game up to get to the district semis for the second year in row,” CB South coach Beth Mattern said with a smile.
CB South (19-5) will meet No. 3 seed Plymouth Whitemarsh at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bensalem in the semis. Boyertown (22-4) moves to the play-back bracket, meeting their 2016 district nemesis, Council Rock North, in Boyertown on Wednesday night.
One of the key cogs in the victory was Melissa Veal, who didn’t score a point. But she hounded Kapp defensively, sticking to her like Velcro after Kapp started hot.
“Melissa Veal played out of her mind,” Mattern said. “I know defensively she can play anyone, but she played phenomenally tonight. The whole game plan was, we knew we had to win this with our defense. Kapp is a great scorer. The looks she got were contested for the most part, but Melissa’s defense really limited those touches.”
Kapp didn’t score in the middle two quarters, finally getting a field goal on a turnaround jumper with 49 seconds left in the fourth to bring Boyertown within 33-30.
“I just wanted to play complete deny on her,” said Veal. “I wasn’t helping off of her at all. I kept on her, didn’t leave her. In her face, with my arms wide. After she had her points the first quarter, I went into complete deny and I wasn’t in the help lane at all. I had to stay on her because she can hit 3s, score from anywhere.”
Boyertown, up 11-10 after the first quarter, scored just six and four points, respectively, in the second and third quarters. Thanks to their defense, they stayed in the game, never trailing by more than 10 — 31-21 early in the fourth. That’s when the Lady Bears started turning over the Titans nearly every time down the floor with their press and half-court traps, holding CB South to just one field goal in the final period.
“Beth did a great job preparing her kids and it was a defensive battle,” Boyertown coach Jason Bieber said. “Earlier in the game they played more aggressively, getting the loose balls and long rebounds.”
Alexa Brodie led CB South with 19 points, the guard being commended by Mattern for being “a great general on the floor.” Megan Kuypers scored 10 and did particular damage in the second quarter when the Titans created some distance. Alli Marcus led Boyertown with 12.
An 11-0 CB South run to close the first half gave the Titans a cushion they would need. They hit three straight 3-pointers — two by Kuypers, another by Brodie — turning a 17-14 Boyertown lead into a 25-17 advantage at the break.
“Sometimes our second quarters this season haven’t been so good,” Bieber said. “We talked about playing four quarters, because the teams this time of year are too good to have lapses against.”
Boyertown held CB South to four points in the third but still trailed by eight, 29-21. The Lady Bears clawed back with their home crowd rising in volume. Marcus’ trey made it 31-28 with 1:31 to go. The Titans turned it over five straight trips at one point.
“I was proud of how they never gave up and kept trapping, got us back into it,” Bieber said. “The kids are upset now, but they said in the locker room they want to keep playing and regroup for states.”
Brodie’s four free throws effectively sealed it in the final 42 seconds. Boyertown had a final chance to tie but a three missed with 19 seconds left.
“I’m just so happy because we were the lower seed,” Veal said. “It’s great to win.”