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Kapp’s late bucket, Boalton’s block lift Boyertown past Northampton, into PIAA semifinals

ROYERSFORD >> The only thing Abby Kapp was thinking about was her follow-through.

Not the score. Not the situation. Not even the pressure.

Kapp hit a clutch 3-pointer with 17 seconds left — easily the Bears’ biggest shot of the season — to give her team its final lead in a 56-55 win over Northampton during the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs on Saturday afternoon at Spring-Ford High School.

“When I shoot, I try to clear my mind and not to think about anything at all,” said Kapp afterward, “so all that I was thinking about was my follow-through, especially in that moment.”

Boyertown’s Abby Kapp, left, and Alli Marcus, right, celebrate after the shot of Northampton’s Victoria Keenan (23), fell shortto give the Bears a 56-55 victory in the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals Saturday at Spring-Ford. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Kapp finished with 14 points, senior guard Katie Armstrong scored a team-high 18 and Tori Boalton came up with two key defensive stops within the final minute to seal it, none bigger than her block on a Northampton shooter underneath the basket with seconds remaining.

The win sets Boyertown up with a state semifinal game against Cardinal O’Hara (a 51-45 winner over North Penn) on Monday night at a time and site to be announced. It will be the Bears’ first trip to the semifinal round since 2011, when their season was ended by Archbishop Carroll.

Trailing by six points at the half, Boyertown came out of the locker room completely renewed. The Bears, the No. 6 finisher out of District One, jumped out to a 10-0 advantage through the first three minutes and knocked down four 3-pointers (10 for the game) in the quarter.

Boyertown’s Abby Kapp (23) goes up for a rebound during the second half. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

“We caught fire,” said Armstrong, who finished with a 3-pointer and converted an and-one bucket in the quarter. “They (Northampton) had their runs during the first half, so we knew we needed to answer right away.”

Defensively, the Bears had their hands-full with Northampton’s standout senior center Aja Blount throughout. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference MVP was unstoppable in the post where she torched Boyertown for 28 points to go along with 12 rebounds.

The Bears swarmed to the paint anytime Blount touched the ball, making her earn every point as she finished an impressive 14-for-14 from the free throw line. Kapp ran into foul trouble early on, picking up her second just over two minutes in as Boyertown constantly flashed from man-to-man to a 2-3 defense.

“She plays so physical inside,” said Boyertown head coach Jason Bieber of Blount, “and then, as we saw, she can knock them down at the foul line. She finishes better around the basket than any girl we’ve faced this season.”

Boyertown’s Alli Marcus drives into the lane en route to a layup during the first half. (Sam Stewart – Digtial First Media)

Alongside Blount, standout sophomore guard Victoria Keenan was elusive throughout, controlling the transition on her way to 13 points while Jenna Rogers picked up seven.

Boyertown entered the fourth quarter with a two-point lead, but that wouldn’t hold. After trading buckets back and forth, Northampton retook the lead at 52-51 with a shade under three minutes left on a Jade Rindock jumper.

From that point, Boalton’s defensive efforts re-energized the Bears’ final stretch while Kapp’s offensive flourish closed it out.

With her team trailing by a point, Boalton came up with a steal on the defensive end, which Kapp then converted to her game-winning 3-pointer. Just moments later, Boalton charged over to contest a wide-open layup attempt from Northampton’s Rindock, getting a hand on the ball to swat it away with just seconds left on the clock.

“Two huge plays,” said Bieber of Boalton’s defense in the fourth quarter. “Those two plays are what really saved us the game. Obviously, Abby’s 3-pointer gave us the lead, but without Tori’s defense, we don’t get the opportunity to hit that shot.”

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