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Methacton makes quick work of Phoenixville in PAC playoff opener

ROYERSFORD >> Methacton sprinted out of the gate and never let up at both ends of the floor to advance in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Franklin K. Manley Final Six girls basketball playoffs Thursday night at Spring-Ford High School.

The third-seeded Warriors stormed out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first 2:50 of the game, stretched it to 12-0 and proceeded to roll past sixth-seeded Phoenixville, 67-41, in the first round of the playoffs.

Methacton moved on to play second-seeded Pottsgrove in the Final Four Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. back at Ram Gymnasium.

Freshman guard Nicole Timko poured in 23 points to lead three double-figure scorers for the Warriors. Junior guard Sydney Tornetta followed with 15, and senior guard Abby Penjuke finished with 13 to pave the way for Methacton.

For the Phantoms, Aubrie Breisblatt had 12 points, Ameerah Green 10 and Hannah Sands eight.

Methacton took a 13-4 lead after the opening quarter and was ahead 33-12 by halftime.

Phoenixville’s Hannah Sands, left, and Methacton’s Caroline Pellicano battle for a loose ball along the sideline to force a jump ball during their PAC quarterfinal at Spring-Ford. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Tornetta had 12 of her points in the first half, including 6-for-7 free throw shooting.

“I think that as the season went on, a lot of us were working well together,” said Tornetta. “We work really well together. We know where each other are on the floor and where we like to shoot the ball. We try to hit that, and we work really well together as a team.”

Tornetta filled the stat sheet with 7-for-9 foul shooting, seven rebounds (six defensive), five assists and two steals as the Warriors got a big team effort at both ends of the court from their entire lineup.

Timko, a 5-7 guard, shot 9-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range, to help the Warriors break the game open with her game-high 23 points. She also had three rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and two steals.

“After I hit a few, I was a lot more confident with it,” said Timko. “I was getting shots I like. I feel we have really good chemistry. We all get along well and play together well.

“I feel we started off (the season) working really well. We had a good start and we built on that.”

Penjuke, the lone senior in the starting unit, canned three 3-pointers. The 5-9 point guard also had five rebounds (four offensive), three assists and two steals.

Methacton head coach Craig Kaminski got contributions up and down the bench, which is the type of output every coach likes to see.

“It was a total team effort,” said Kaminski. “I am very proud of the girls. Phoenixville played us really tough during the season. We worked in practice and the start. Jumping on them early and getting up 7-0, that was big. Everyone played extremely well. I feel it was a total team effort. I am very happy with them.”

Junior forward Caroline Pellicano, a 6-footer, had eight points, eight rebounds (six defensive), three blocked shots and one steal. Junior forward Sydney Hargrove had six points and one block.

Freshman forward Tori Bockrath ended up with seven rebounds, one block and two points.

Kaminski said the Warriors usually have their three big scorers, and Pelican and Hargrove do the dirty work to balance the showing,

The Warriors lacked a point guard at first, but Penjuke has stepped up to fill that role more than adequately.

“We wouldn’t be in the position we are without her,” said Kaminski.

Methacton’s Abby Penjuke looks for a pass as Phoenixville’s Nailah Green defends during their PAC quarterfinal game Thursday at Spring-Ford. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Phoenixville coach Mike Behnke felt Sands, one of only three seniors on his squad, gave the best all-around effort for his team. Sands, a 5-10 center, provided punch at both ends of the court.

Besides her eight points on 3-for-7 shooting, Sands had seven rebounds (five offensive), two assists and one blocked shot. Sands also drew the assignment of working against Methacton’s two frontcourt players underneath the basket on defense.

“Hannah Sands played one of her toughest games of the season,” said Behnke. “She had to defend against their two bigs. She worked hard. She was our player of the game.”

Breisblatt nailed a pair of 3-pointers to go along with five rebounds, two assists and one steal. Ameerah Green had five rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Nailah Green had six points on cutbacks and 10 rebounds (seven offensive).

Marlee Brown had a rebound and assist and Sammy Brown picked up a steal. Chloe Johns hit a 3-point basket. Behnke pointed out that Breisblatt, Nai Green and Johns are sophomores so the future should be bright for Phoenixville.

The Phantoms will now concentrate on preparing for the District 1 Class 5A playoffs. They are currently the 14th seed but that could change with games remaining. Sixteen teams qualify for the playoffs in the 5A division.

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