Clutch Boyertown beats Perk Valley in league final, secures undefeated PAC-10 run

PHOENIXVILLE — They had heard the names of Jess Schlesman, Kaitlyn Eisenhard and Kelly Furman, among others.

They had heard of the past successes of the Bears’ teams from 2010 and 2011.

Now, after a victory over Perkiomen Valley in the PAC-10 championship game, Abby Kapp, Alli Marcus, Jordan Webb and the current Boyertown girls basketball team can etch their names into the Boyertown basketball record books.

Abby Kapp finished the game with a game-high 14 points while Alli Marcus finished in double-digits as Boyertown utilized clutch free-throw shooting and defense to hold off a furious Perkiomen Valley rally en route to a 38-29 victory Wednesday at Phoenixville.

“We really have a great team dynamic and we knew coming into the season that we were a strong team and we had goals set in the beginning of the season,’ Kapp said. “This was definitely one of our goals, to come down here and execute. To accomplish one of those goals feels great. I’m speechless, honestly.’

“This is the first time I was here,’ Maria Garofolo added. “To win, it’s the best feeling. We are a very determined team. When we want something we go out and get it. When times get tough like that we really stick together and pull out a win.’

Marcus finished with 10 points and was 8-of-10 from the free throw line as the Bears went 13-for-18 from the charity stripe in the final frame to secure the victory. Boyertown finished with one field goal in the entire second half.

“I think the big play came from Alli Marcus,’ Boyertown head coach Jason Bieber said. “She decided she was going to take the ball to the basket. Sometimes she got fouls called, sometimes she didn’t. But her doing that, she got herself to the line and really helped us get out of some jams.

“She’s a sophomore, first-year starting, and she wouldn’t have done that in December. She’s growing into what she needs to do. One of her big idols growing up was Jess Schlesman who was on my first two teams (to win a PAC-10 title). She wears No. 5 and she tries to be like Jess and tonight she certainly played like her.’

Garofolo finished with seven points while Bauman added five points and five rebounds as Boyertown claimed its first PAC-10 title since a run of two straight in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. The Bears’ defense, coming off a season-best performance in a 52-13 victory over Phoenixville, limited the Vikings to a 9-for-35 effort from the field as they built a 25-17 lead after three.

The win also denied Perkiomen Valley of its first PAC-10 title in school history.

But even in defeat, the Vikings proved to belong.

KT Armstrong finished with 11 points while freshman Megan Jonassen added eight as the Vikings held Boyertown to its third-lowest point total this season. The Vikings, who came back from eight points down to top Pope John Paul II in the semifinals, had trailed by as many as 14 in the game before a 3-pointer from Caitlyn Byrne and an AnaMarie Bruni putback and-1 cut the deficit to 32-29 with 1:12 remaining.

“I am so proud of those kids. You just have no idea,’ Perkiomen Valley head coach John Strawoet said. “We just held the No. 1 team in the district to 38 points. I know we didn’t score a whole lot. These kids gave us everything they had. We asked them to leave it out on the floor and that’s what they did. They left it all out on the floor.

“I can’t ask for anything more from a player than that.’

Ultimately, however, the Bears’ defense and fundamentals won out.

Garofolo came up with a big steal on the Vikings’ next offensive possession before she, Jordan Webb and Kapp helped seal the game with clutch free throw shooting down the stretch.

“When you’re playing a great team like Perk Valley, I was just trying to figure out what defense we wanted to go in,’ Bieber said. “You kind of pick your poison. If you go zone they have a couple of 3-point shooters — (Byrne) made that big three and they got Leahy, they got Walter. If you go man they start clearing out for Armstrong and when she gets to the basket, nine out of 10 times she’s going to score or get fouled. We just had to mix it up. Maria jumped that pass, got a big steal there.’

“The whole thing was to stay calm and stay focused,’ Kapp said. “We knew not to panic but of course there was a little bit of nervous energy because being in that situation, we aren’t as experienced. I think we executed pretty well down the stretch and we executed enough to win.’

NOTES — The Bears open up district play as the No. 1 seed and will host Central Bucks East Friday at 7 p.m. Perkiomen Valley earned the No. 10 seed and will host No. 23 Neshaminy Saturday at 1:30 p.m. … Byrne’s 3-pointer was just her second of the season. … Boyertown shot 8 of 26 from the field but finished 22-for-28 from the foul line. Perkiomen Valley was 10-of-18 from the line.

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