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Mount St. Joseph’s comeback falls short against Twin Valley in PIAA-5A 1st round

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UPPER DUBLIN >> Mount St. Joseph Academy lost to Twin Valley, 51-45, Friday night in the first round of the PIAA Class-5A state playoffs at Upper Dublin High School.

The Magic entered the fourth quarter trailing by 18, 46-28. They scored the first six points of the quarter and used a 14-2 run to get within six, 48-42, but that’s as close as they’d get. They got within six again, 51-45, but couldn’t narrow the gap any more.

“I’m really proud of them,” Mount coach Jim Roynan said. “They really fought back. They never gave up. That’s really what they’ve been doing all year. I was really proud of the way they played.”

Lauren Vessey scored seven points in the fourth quarter while Taylor Sistrunk and Grace Niekelski each had four to help get the Magic back in it.

The Mount led, 21-20, late in the first half. Twin Valley responded by scoring seven straight points and heading into halftime with a 33-26 lead.

The Raiders opened the third with another 7-0 run to take a 40-26 lead and ended the quarter ahead by 18, 46-28, after a 26-7 run starting when they trailed by one.

“It’s been a running theme for us where we have a couple bad minute stretch where we’re not playing smart basketball and we let it steamroll a little bit,” Roynan said. “Then we usually recover, which we did, but against a good team like that you get down by 10, 12, 13 points it’s much more difficult to come back.”

Twin Valley’s Peyton McDaniel and Taylor Blunt were at the heart of the run. They combined for 38 of the Raiders 51 points — McDaniel scoring 21 and Blunt 17.

“We knew going in those two girls can shoot,” Roynan said. “They can shoot from anywhere on the court. I think they’re pretty much open when they walk in the gym. We spent a lot of time trying to devise a defense to make sure we had them covered. We did a good job for the most part, but they get an inch and they fire. They’re good shooters. I give them all the credit. We did about a good a job as we could’ve done on them and they still scored.”

Vessey led the Mount with 18 points and Niekelski added nine.

The loss brings an end to the Mount’s season. They finished third in the Catholic Academies Leagues, third in District 1 and totaled a 17-11 record.

“I think it was a good year,” Roynan said. “All five of the girls who started and the girls who came off the bench didn’t see a lot of varsity minutes up until this year. Even my seniors that started and played — Deidre (Regan) and Megan (Dodaro) — it’s their first year being counted on for big minutes for varsity. I thought they did a fantastic job all year. They just improved and they kept getting better. They were a solid foundation for the team. We leaned on them a lot and they came through.”

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