Malvern >> The message Shipley girls’ basketball head coach Sean Costello delivered to his team when he first took the reins was simple. It was going to take a team effort to have success.
When Shipley defeated Germantown Academy 52-47 in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association girls’ basketball final Feb. 25, the first thing people talked about was how senior Yndiah Bobo and sophomores Lauren Ross and Anna Camden combined for all but one of the points Shipley scored.
Behind closed doors in the locker room, it was clear the important roles sophomores Casey Winter, Elizabeth Talluto and Kate Scutt played were instrumental in the Gators season long journey.
“They were huge,” said Bobo following the GA game in which she scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists. “Everybody talks about me, Lauren (Ross) and Anna (Camden) but it takes five players on the court to win. You have to be able to make stops defensively, grab rebounds and make shots when needed.”
“I think that is what changed the results we were looking for,” Costello said following the win over GA in the PAISAA finals. “They (Casey, Elizabeth and Kate) started embracing their roles. They got the roles, understood what they were supposed to do but I don’t know if they how to go about it but once it started clicking and they realized they could defend, protect the basketball, find the open player and rebound we took off and it was great.”
“The small things add up,” said Talluto, who scored one point but grabbed five rebounds with two coming at key points in the game. “We played as a team and that was a key to our success.”
Before they could set their sights on the finals, Shipley knew they would have to go through top-seeded Abington Friends to get there. With the Kangaroos winning the first two games (one in the regular season and one in the Friends’ Schools League title game), the Gators were hoping to gain a measure of revenge after two close losses.
With Bobo in charge, Shipley started quick before holding off a late Abington Friends charge and pulling away to earn the 45-33 win.
“To beat Abington Friends meant so much,” said Bobo. “They beat us twice and I think that served as motivation for us. They are a talented team but we worked hard and it paid off.”
Against GA, the Gators jumped out to a 16-8 lead after one quarter only to the see the Patriots claw their way back and head into halftime tied at 18. Shipley opened the second half on a 7-0 run but once again GA clawed their way back within two at 27-25 but the Gator trio of Bobo, Ross and Camden refused to let GA forge in front.
Each time GA grew closer, one of the trio (Bobo, Ross or Winter) had an answer. Grabbing that key rebound, collecting a steal or the one helping make the key defensive stop was Talluto, Winter or Scutt.
The win caps off a year that saw their senior leaders – Bobo, Natalia Joseph and Yaz Enoch – show the way for the younger players who displayed growth throughout the season.
“Every great team has great leaders and our seniors did a great job,” said Winter. “We have been through so much this year and the seniors always seemed to know what to say.”
Costello added, “This was certainly a different team and we had to win in different ways. From the beginning of the season until now there has been vast improvement. This group bought in to what we were teaching and you could see it in the way they were playing at the end of the season. This is a special group.”