Despite scoring drought, Shanahan holds on to beat Notre Dame

ROYERSFORD — Playing three games in four days can take a toll on any basketball team late in the regular season.

Bishop Shanahan started feeling the effects of that stretch late in the fourth quarter against the Academy of Notre Dame.

The Eagles couldn’t convert any baskets in the final few minutes, but Jamie Powers kept the team from completing a major collapse.

Powers kept tight defense on Irish sharpshooter Alex Kane throughout the fourth quarter. On Notre Dame’s final possession, that pressure paid off.

“I just wanted to stay on her and not give her any open threes,’ Powers said. “Coach Fran (Burbidge) just didn’t want her to shoot the ball.’

Kane was able to get the potential game-winning 3-pointer off in the final seconds, but the shot was contested and hit the front of the rim. After a desperation heave by Casey Walsh, Devon Adams grabbed the round and ensured victory for Bishop Shanahan, which went without a field goal in the final 4:42 to hold on for a 43-40 victory against the Academy of Notre Dame in the Blue Chip Showcase at Spring-Ford High School on Sunday afternoon.

The win was a bounce-back victory for the Eagles (17-2) after dropping their second game of the season to Unionville Friday night. Powers was the catalyst to Shanahan’s victory by compiling the work on the court that is not seen on the stat sheet.

“We’re not close to being where we are right now without Jamie Powers,’ said Shanahan head coach Fran Burbidge. “She is a mainstay for us. She covers the opponent’s better players, she’s smart coming off the ball and picking up other kids’ mistakes. I don’t know where’d we be without her.’

Despite being banged up after a physical win over Coatesville on Thursday compiled with a road loss to Unionville Friday, the Eagles played well for the first 31 minutes against the Irish building a commanding 42-31 lead on a Devon Adams layup with 4:42 to play.

The Eagles went scoreless the rest of the way, allowing Notre Dame to end the game on a 9-0 run. Shanahan went 1-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final five minutes which contributed to the near-comeback by the Irish.

“We kind of second-guessed the fact of maybe we pulled the ball back too early and got out of attack mode,’ Burbidge said. “That being said, we missed a couple layups and three one-and-ones. We spread them out and got the layups we were looking for, but we missed them. I got to be better at coaching that.’

With the game tied 20-20 at halftime, Shanahan went into its attack mode in the third quarter. Led by Ciara Forde, who finished with 11 points, the Eagles scored 17 points in the quarter and built a commanding 37-28 lead.

Adams got the scoring going for Shanahan with four straight points to put the Eagles up 24-22. Grace Phillips followed with a 3-pointer to give Shanahan a 27-22 lead.

The Eagles went on an 8-0 run to build a 10-point lead at 35-25. Kelly Cox hit a 3-pointer followed by a Forde layup and jumper to put them in control of the game.

Cox was crucial off the bench for the Eagles, as she has been throughout the weekend. She finished with eight points and has 19 over her last three games.

“When I get in there, if I see the open shot I’m taking it,’ Cox said. “I like to play smart and look inside dor Dev (Adams). We like to provide energy on the bench and add to it when we get on the court.’

Adams had 12 points in the win while Phillips finished with nine and was the Blue Chip Classic game MVP for Shanahan. Both suffered injuries in the Coatesville win Thursday night, but showed no signs of fatigue or soreness during Sunday’s game.

Kane led Notre Dame with a game-high 18 points.

Facing its toughest stretch of the season, Shanahan was able to finish 2-1 during the three-game stretch, with the loss coming in overtime to a Unionville team that has won seven in a row.

The Eagles have a commanding two-game lead in the Ches-Mont League National Division and can clinch the title with a victory Tuesday night against Avon Grove.

Over the final two weeks of the regular season, Shanahan will prepare for the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs and a potential return trip to the state playoffs. Burbidge intends to work on some things as the schedule lightens up for his team.

“We’re real excited we have a week coming up her that we can address a lot of game-ending situations,’ Burbidge said. “The kids today came out with a lot of energy and did a great job. We just have to clean up the fourth-quarter stuff. I have to do a better job there.’

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