HERSHEY >> Her teammates were out of control.
The moment was just too much for them.
“Guys! We haven’t even gotten the trophy yet,” said Abby Kapp with a bright smile pointing to the shining trophy still yet to be presented at midcourt.
Behind Kapp, Boyertown overcame a slow start Friday night and claimed the program’s first PIAA Class 6A Championship with a 46-35 win over North Allegheny at the Giant Center in Hershey.
“No one could contain their excitement,” said Kapp with a laugh of the postgame celebration. “That was such a special moment.”
Similar to the postgame festivities, Kapp kept the Lady Bears level throughout the early goings of the game Friday night, scoring 10 of her team’s 14 first-half points as Boyertown took a five-point deficit into the locker rooms. North Allegheny, the District 7 champion, was hardly dominant, but looked plenty in control early on.
That all changed during the second half. Boyertown, the sixth seed out of District 1, utilized an eight-minute, 18-2 advantage between the third and fourth quarters to ultimately seal it.
The opening 16 minutes looked to be anything but the team that played its way through the district and state playoffs earlier this month. Boyertown committed 13 turnovers and shot just 4-for-18 from the field in the first half, that effort polished a bit by Kylie Webb’s 3-pointer a minute before the halftime buzzer sounded.
“We were settling for outside shots,” the standout Kapp said of the first half. “Playing at the Giant Center is definitely intimidating. It can alter your shot, so I think we got to the basket well in the second half and that started opening up the outside shots.”
The second half proved to be the Boyertown team that over 700 fans and students took the trip to see.
The Bears used an all-out team-effort during the second half, posting a 12-2 advantage over North Allegheny in the third quarter which was capped by Tori Boalton’s score off a back-door feed from Alli Marcus with 20 seconds remaining.
Kapp finished with a game-high 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Boalton scored nine points while Webb added nine more on a pair of 3-pointers. The junior guard closed it out with a clutch trip to the free-throw line, calmly sinking a pair with nearly 40 seconds remaining in regulation. Katie Armstrong scored five points and grabbed eight rebounds.
“It took us some time,” said Webb, “but once we got on that roll, we were feeling really good. Our confidence definitely went up when we came out and stopped them early on. From there our shots started dropping.”
“We started shaking off the nerves,” said Bucknell University-bound Kapp. “Everyone was nervous playing in such a big arena and I think we just talked to each other, calmed each other down and told each other that we believed in each other. That’s what gave us the confidence to go on that run.”
North Allegheny got back on its feet late, though.
Trailing by as many as 11 points with 5:32 to go, the Tigers pulled to within four points at 38-34 after sophomore guard Rachel Martindale converted a bucket in the paint.
Junior guard Piper Morningstar led the charge with a team-high 10 points while Martindale followed with nine and senior Hailey Zeise had eight.
The Bears’ run, mixed in with some late poise at the free throw line, proved to be just too much.
Boyertown finished 10-for-12 from the line during crunch time over the final three minutes, Kapp with a clean 4-for-4 showing during that stretch to close it out.
Once they got their hands on the PIAA Championship trophy during the postgame, the moment may have officially sunk in.
Tears streamed and medals clanged together as cries of ‘Lady Bears’ echoed throughout the Giant Center.
Through all of it, one thing remained clear: They started and finished this journey together.
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