SCRANTON >> For Garnet Valley, the two-hour luxury bus drive to Lackawanna College was … well, adventurous.
“There was a leak on the ceiling,” sophomore Brianne Borcky said.
The Jaguars all had a good laugh about this after their convincing, 58-43 victory over Scranton High in the opening round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament.
Friday’s weather on the Northeast Extension was miserable. There were snow squalls and low visibility at various times throughout the commute, not ideal conditions for water to be dripping down on the seats.
But the Jags MacGyver-ed the leak and moved on with the rest of their day.
“We were hanging bags from the ceiling with medical tape,” junior guard Nicole Barnes said, before bursting out with laughter.
On the court, the Jaguars didn’t have to patchwork a thing. There weren’t any holes to plug. They outplayed the District 2 champion Knights (18-6) and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
Garnet Valley, District 1’s eighth-place finisher, will play District 1’s sixth-place team Boyertown Tuesday night.
“We didn’t come all the way up here just to lose,” said Borcky, who posted 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Jags got hot early and never showed signs of fatigue. Senior Sydney Fail hit a pair of 3-pointers as GV sprinted out to a 12-4 advantage.
“We were prepared — overly prepared, actually,” Borcky said. “We kind of knew what they liked to do.”
Ciaira Loyd was GV’s biggest concern. The diminutive guard became the school’s all-time leading scorer with a basket in the second quarter. She scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the first half, but the exciting Loyd was a non-factor after halftime.
“We had me, Camryn (Faith) or Katherine (Eckhoff) on her up top on defense and we would pick her up and make sure she didn’t shoot from far out, because she is a good shooter from long distance,” said Barnes, who had another tremendous floor game with four points, eight rebounds, two assists and three steals. “One of us made sure we knew where she was at all times.”
Sophomore forwards Borcky and Emily McAteer were the difference makers. In the end, the Jags’ big girls were better than Scranton’s towering duo of Colette Mulderig and Kristin Hart, who combined for eight points.
McAteer led all players with 25 points and was 13-for-14 at the free-throw line. She also had seven rebounds and four assists.
After a quiet first quarter, Borcky turned up her game in the second period when she scored nine of the Jags’ 11 points. Borcky and McAteer had their way driving to the basket against the Knights’ soft zone.
Loyd’s steal and layup in the second quarter capped a 9-0 run and gave Scranton a short-lived lead. The Jags responded with an 11-0 run and took a seven-point lead into halftime.
Scranton trimmed its deficit to six points twice in the second half, but couldn’t pull any closer.
“We knew their No. 3 guard (Loyd) was pretty good, she averages 20 points a game,” Garnet Valley coach Joe Woods said. “She had 13 in the first half, 15 total. Defensively, she was the main concern for us. I thought we played her very well, especially in the second half. We sustained their run in the second half, they got close, but I think the kids kept their composure.”
The Jags didn’t seem bothered by the pro-Scranton crowd. The student section grew louder and more intimidating each time the Jags strolled to the foul line, but the hostile territory only seemed to fuel the Jags. Garnet shot a crisp 85.7 percent (24-for-28) at the charity stripe.
“My mom was competing with them on the other end,” Fail said. “It was embarrassing.”
The good news is the Jaguars likely won’t have to travel too far next round when they meet Boyertown. So, hopefully their bus ride won’t be as eventful.
“It was a good experience and I think we just became closer the whole ride up,” Barnes said. “We laughed the whole way. It was a good time.”
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