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Berks Catholic repeats as Berks League champ, tops Gov. Mifflin 48-33


READING >> Berks Catholic and Governor Mifflin have become familiar foes on the floor of Santander Arena the past few years. For the third time in four seasons, the Saints and the Mustangs met to decide the BCIAA title in downtown Reading on Wednesday night.

Governor Mifflin wasn’t here a year ago. But Berks Catholic was. And the Saints made it two Berks League title in a row, with a 48-33 victory over the Mustangs.

“It’s nice,” BC head coach Bob Birmingham said, somewhat mildly, about nailing down a second straight county crown. “It’s a good group of kids. We have a core group back from last year. These kids play hard and tonight, I thought we put 32 minutes together on the floor. I thought our defense was awesome.”

Berks Catholic’s wins the BCIAA Girls Basketball Championship at Santander Arena in Reading on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. KIRK NEIDERMYER | PA Prep Live

BC created a buffer with an 18-7 second quarter run for a 24-14 halftime lead that more than held up the rest of way. Mifflin had no answers for Saints’ forward Dejah Terrell after the break. Potent perimeter shooting from the Section 2 champs forced Mifflin head coach Mike Clark to spread the floor a bit more in the second half. That opened up operating room for the 6-foot-2 BC senior. Terrell finished with a game-high 18 points.

Governor Mifflin’s Kayla Hartman drives to the hoop during the BCIAA Girls Basketball Championship at Santander Arena in Reading on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. KIRK NEIDERMYER | PA Prep Live

There would be no second-half comeback this time for Mustangs, who trailed by the exact same margin at the break in Monday night’s semifinal versus Section 1 champ Twin Valley, before rallying to win with several hot hands, including Kyra Hartman (19 points in semifinal) and Ta’Shonna Wright-Gaskins (14 in semis). Terrell’s presence gave BC a counter that TV simply couldn’t provide.

“We miss a lot of assignments early and you’ve gotta remember, with Terrell, she can change the whole game,” Mifflin head coach Mike Clark said. “You get down 10 with her, (Birmingham) puts her in the middle, and she’s the safe valve everything.

“I knew it was going to be hard to climb back in.”

BC was remarkably consistent offensively in Wednesday’s league title game: The Saints scored 18, 12 and 12 points, respectively, during the final three quarters.  In addition to Terrell, BC got big points at key junctures from Molly Duncan, especially during the second quarter run that effectively iced it. Duncan had eight of her club’s points in the period.

“Molly had eight of those 18 and that sparked us a bit,” Birmingham said. “That was huge. We have so many shooters, I think she gets lost in that a bit. Eight of 18 there was huge.” Duncan finished with 11.

Berks Catholic’s Meghan Leininger puts up a jump shot during the BCIAA Girls Basketball Championship at Santander Arena in Reading on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. KIRK NEIDERMYER | PA Prep Live

Stella Mollica’s seven points were tops for the Mustangs while semifinal sparks Hartman and Wright-Gaskins were held to six and five points, respectively. Mifflin junior Wright-Gaskins took a seat on the bench for a chunk of the second half; it was later revealed by Clark that she was suffering from a sore knee. Wright-Gaskins wore a wrap on it during the game.

“T went and saw the trainer before the game, for her knee,” Clark said. “I think that’s where everything got thrown off. She can’t make the team bus; by the time she gets here I’ve got 10 minutes to give to the scheme of things.”

The postseason continues for both teams: Gov. Mifflin is the No. 7 seed in the District 3 Class 6A tournament and was set to host No. 10 Penn Manor on Monday at 7 p.m. in the first round. Berks Catholic is the No. 2 seed in the 4A field and received a first-round bye. The Saints host the winner of No. 10 Eastern York and No. 7 York Suburban in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 23, with a place in the state tournament on the line.



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