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Spring-Ford ousted by William Allen in PIAA-6A opener

DOWNINGTOWN >> Five minutes.

For William Allen, it was extraordinary.

For Spring-Ford, excruciating.

William Allen used a five-minute, 17-point run to shut the door on Spring-Ford’s season with a 50-35 win during the opening round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs Friday night at Downingtown West.

Spring-Ford’s Olivia Olsen (33) has her shot blocked by William Allen’s Jakayla Wise (30). (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

“We’re a great in-game team,” said Allen head coach Stanley Broyles. “It doesn’t take a lot to get our girls up and ready. I think we proved that in the fourth quarter — we know how to win games.”

Junior guard Miriam Rodriguez scored six of her 15 points during the Canaries’ key run while senior guard and leading scorer Kion Andrews came away with a game-high 16 points.

On the other end, things just weren’t clicking for the Rams, making their first state playoff appearance since 2015.

Spring-Ford’s Lucy Olsen (1) drives the lane while being guarded by William Allen’s Isis Russell (20). (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

“We had a lot of good looks, a lot of open looks,” said Spring-Ford head coach Mickey McDaniel, “and they just didn’t go for us.

“That’s what happens in shooting — some nights you’re hitting everything, some nights you’re not.”

On this particular night, the Rams simply were not. Spring-Ford finished 12-for-54 from the field, including a 6-for-29 showing from 3-point land. The Rams finished with just one basket in the fourth quarter — Emily Tiffan’s 3-pointer to start the frame.

It was an uncharacteristic finish for a team that had been so keen to spread the floor and find the open look all winter.

Spring-Ford’s Olivia Olsen rises up for a jumper during the first half of Friday’s game against William Allen. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

William Allen, the No. 4 seed out of District 11, picks up the program’s first state playoff win since 2008. The Canaries (18-8 overall) will face Central Dauphin, a 32-28 winner over Central Bucks East, on Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined.

Spring-Ford’s season comes to an end at 24-5, the Rams ending their run on a three-game losing skid dating back to the District 1-6A quarterfinals last week.

Allen’s bigs were a problem under the basket all night for Spring-Ford’s offense. Freshman Jakayla Wise and junior Asha Talib clogged the paint, forcing the Rams to settle for jumpers and to try to develop the outside game.

Spring-Ford’s Lucy Olsen pulls up for a shot during the first half of Friday’s night’s game against William Allen. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Wise finished with six points and 10 rebounds while Talib scored seven.

“They’ve got some size, they’ve got some quickness and they’re athletic,” said McDaniel. “When the shots aren’t falling and you can’t get inside to get some buckets and force some fouls, it’s a tough way to go out.”

Freshman point guard Lucy Olsen came out of the gates red-hot, scoring all 10 of the Rams’ first quarter points. She was tamed the rest of the way, though, as she finished with 14 points. Freshman forward Tiffan scored eight while Spring-Ford’s other forwards were limited to a combined seven points.

For Broyles, Friday’s result was a complete 180 from where his team had been just a week prior.

William Allen fell victim to a 40-8 run against Freedom on the way to a 56-33 loss during the District 11 semifinal round. In that game, which featured Andrews’ 1,000th career point, Broyles admits that his team picked up some fire.

Spring-Ford’s Rachel Christman (20) drives to the lane while William Allen’s Melina Hernandez (25) and Miriam Rodriguez (21) during Friday night’s game. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

“We played some tough teams just to be able to get to this point,” he said. “We played Freedom, we played Beca (Bethlehem Catholic), we played Parkland — we played some of the best teams in the Lehigh Valley. So we’re ready for this kind of stuff.

“We were hearing all about Spring-Ford and how they’re ranked No. 2 in the state. But for us, ranking has nothing to do with a team. They’d never seen us play, we’d never seen them play. We just needed to come out and be ready to play four quarters.”

After Tiffan’s 3-pointer early on in the fourth, Alyssa Yuan hit the second of two free-throws to tie it up at 33-33. Abby Goodrich then hit a pair of free throws to score Spring-Ford’s final points of the season and make it 35-33.

From there, William Allen would run away with it and seal it over the next five minutes.

Although it came down to such a disappointing finish, McDaniel won’t let it tarnish what Spring-Ford had accomplished this season.

“It’s been a special year,” he said. “There are a lot of people that didn’t think we could get to where we did. But we believed we could be here.

“When the season ends like this, it’s tough to let go. You want to see a team like this experience even more success and keep moving on. They have everything to be proud of and can smile walking out of here.”

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