Shanahan falls to Marple Newtown in championship game for first loss

BROOMALL — Ciara Forde and Bishop Shanahan wouldn’t go down without a fight.

The Eagles made sure their contest with Marple Newtown would be decided on the last shot. Forde was the the driving force behind keeping the game going, even when it seemed out of hand.

“We just have to keep digging,’ Forde said. “Every time we are down, we just keep pushing. It’s like a reality check for us to keep at it.’

Forde hit a buzzer-beater to send Bishop Shanahan’s game with Marple Newtown into overtime, but her second shot to force a double overtime bounced off the front of the rim as the Eagles fell 45-43 to the Tigers in the championship game of the Marple Newtown Tournament Saturday afternoon at Marple Newtown High School.

The loss ended Shanahan’s (8-1) eight-game win streak to start the year. Marple Newtown (6-2) has won four straight games after a .500 start.

Forde finished with a game-high 22 points for the Eagles while Grace Phillips added nine. Both players were selected to the All-Tournament Team.

In the second half, Forde took over with her perimeter shooting. The junior went 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the third quarter to give Shanahan a 32-27 lead after three quarters.

With Shanahan leading by one at halftime, Forde took it upon herself to provide a second-half spark for the Eagles. “Everything was just going in for me,’ Forde said. “In the first half, I wasn’t contributing as much. My midset going into the second half was to go out there and score.’

“Ciara’s just starting to learn how to be that player,’ said Shanahan head coach Fran Burbidge. “She’s starting to want the ball in those situations. I’m proud of her for getting the ball and wanting to take that shot. It’s going to benefit her as her skills are strating to get really good.’

Marple Newtown went on a 7-0 run capped by a Danielle Collins jumper to give the Tigers a 36-35 lead with 3:25 to play.

Rylee Power, who finished with 21 points for the Tigers, hit a pair of free throws with under 10 seconds to play to give Marple Newtown a 38-36 lead.

In came Forde to play hero. She drove past three defenders and hit a one-handed floater from 13-feet out as time expired to send the game into overtime.

“I didn’t know how much time was left,’ Forde said with a laugh. “There wasn’t a lot, so I just went down there and put it up. It was a lucky shot.’

The Tigers took control early in the overtime period with four unanswered points to take a 42-38 lead.

After Forde hit a free throw to cut the deficit to three, Rachel Parker stole the ball and got to the line. She hit both free throws to make it 42-41 with 1:11 to play.

On the ensuing inbounds pass, Shanahan appeared to force Marple Newtown into a five second violation. As the baseline official called it, Tigers coach Mike Colgan called a timeout which was granted by the other official.

Moments later, Burbidge was charged with a techinical foul. Power hit 1-of-2 shots to give the Tigers a 43-41 lead.

Marple Newtown led 45-41 with under 50 seconds remaining. Phillips drew a foul and hit both shots at the line to cut it to 45-43. On Marple’s inbounds pass, Phillips intercepted it which gave Shanahan a shot at the tie wih 9.4 seconds left in overtime.

However this time, the Eagles threw the inbounds pass away with led to a foul on Collins. With a chance to seal the victory by hitting both free throws, Collins went 0-for-2 at the line to give Shanahan one more chance,

Forde took the ball up the court and earned a clean look for the tie from 7-feet out, but the shot hit the front of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.

Power was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Carley Hamilton, who finished with 10 points, was selected to the All-Tournament Team.

Despite the first setback of the season for Shanahan, the Eagles are seeking to improve as the calendar year comes to a close. Next up, the heart of the Ches-Mont League schedule.

“We not at that level with some other teams that deserve to be undefeated at this point,’ Burbidge said. “We still have a ways to go to be that program. I was more surprised we were undefeated at this stage of the season. We’ll regroup and get better. That starts with me.’

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