FORT WASHINGTON >> So much depth, so much talent and such quick-strike ability to take over a game.
The Germantown Academy girls basketball team particularly displayed those qualities during a key 15-second stretch in its non-league game Tuesday against visiting Peddie School.
With a little over a minute to play during a back-and-forth first half, the Patriots got a field goal from Alexa Naessens, who then immediately stole the ball on Peddie’s ensuing possession. She assisted on a quick bucket by teammate Elle Stauffer.
As the Falcons attempted to get the ball down court to counter GA’s offensive surge, Stauffer deflected a pass right to another teammate, Cat Polisano, who nailed another field goal to complete a stretch of six points in a mere 15 seconds.
The sequence gave GA the lead for good, and the Patriots ended up coasting to a 64-28 victory.
“Once you start scoring, you just keep doing it,” said Stauffer, a sophomore guard who contributed nine points. “It builds up your momentum to keep going forward and changes the whole aspect of the game.”
At first glance, a six-point outburst might not seem vital in a game eventually decided by a 36-point margin, but the Patriots were never in control of things at all during the first half. Prior to that 15-second stretch, Peddie was holding a 21-18 lead.
GA’s quick-strike run surely did its damage to the visiting Falcons, who never recovered. They were held scoreless over the final minute of the first half, and they only scored five points after intermission.
“We just talked at halftime about working hard and playing our game,” said GA sophomore guard Jaye Haynes, who led all scorers with 19 points. “We talked about not rushing shots, playing good defense – not rushing anything and letting the game play at our pace.”
An accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike caused a major traffic jam and prevented Peddie School from getting to the game on time. Initially scheduled for a 4 p.m. start, the contest didn’t tip off until 5:04.
Although Peddie (0-3) had spent much more time than expected on the bus, the delay seemed to also have a negative effect on GA (3-0). With the exception of Haynes, the Patriots couldn’t find their shooting range at all in the first quarter, which ended with GA on top 9-8.
Peddie started to assert itself a bit more on offense in the second quarter. Natalie Stralkus, who finished with a team-high 10 points, scored six of them during a second period in which Peddie grabbed the lead on several occasions.
“We waited so long to start the game,” Stauffer said. “We had a really long warmup, so we were a little tired at the beginning. Once we got going, we were OK.”
GA still only led by six points at the start of the second half, but the talented and deep Patriots got points from seven different players to pull away in the third quarter. Haynes had 10 of her 19 points during the third period.
The second half demonstrated just how deep GA’s roster is. When both teams essentially began clearing the benches early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots’ reserves kept delivering offense. Freshman guard/forward Jessica Moore scored eight of her 10 points during that fourth quarter.
Polisano and Naessens are the only seniors on GA’s 14-player varsity roster, so the Patriots are quite young. Haynes, one of seven varsity sophomores, said the team’s depth and youthful talent have her expectations sky-high for this season, as well as for the future.
“I think we’re going to be very good,” Haynes said. “We have really good chemistry. Last season, we went through a lot of ups and downs, so now I think we’re all solid and kind of know what we’re doing.
“I think our youth is a positive, because we’re going to be playing with a strong core of sophomore players through our senior year together. All we can do from now until then is just get better.”
Germantown Academy 64, Peddie School 28
Peddie School 8 13 5 2-28
Germantown Academy 9 18 24 13-64
Peddie (0-3): Emma Rodgers 0 1-2 1; Natalie Stralkus 4 2-2 10; Katie Rodriguez 0 0-0 0; Kylie Favors 2 0-0 5; Janayshea Brown 2 1-4 6; Kharma Hall 0 2-2 2; Julia Gorajek 0 0-0 0; McKenzie Guest-Kicker 0 0-0 0; Sarah Diluzio 1 0-0 2; Elle Grant 1 0-1 2. Totals: 10 6-11 28.
Germantown Academy (3-0): Elle Stauffer 4 1-2 9; Cat Polisano 1 4-6 6; Jaye Haynes 8 1-1 19; Rachel Balzer 1 0-0 3; Alexa Naessens 3 0-0 6; Jessica Moore 5 0-0 10; Maddie Burns 0 0-0 0; Lindsay Putnam 0 0-0 0; Charlotte Dilello 0 0-0 0; Caitlyn Priore 1 1-1 3; Julia Johnson 0 0-0 0; Sarah Dilello 3 1-2 8; Becca Booth 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 8-12 64.
3-point goals: PS-Favors, Brown; GA-Haynes 2, S. Dilello, Balzer.