Strath Haven has scoring threats all over the floor

Strath Haven is the No. 14 seed in the District One Class AAAA playoffs after a regular season and Central League playoff that saw the Panthers win 19 games under coach Patrick Keaveney.

It’s difficult to imagine where the Panthers would be without junior guard Katie Fisher and junior forward Rachel Vresilovic. Fisher has been in the top two or three in scoring in Delaware County all season, while Vresilovic is averaging double digits in both points and rebounds.

Sometimes, the complementary players can go unnoticed, but the Panthers won big games down the stretch and nearly pulled off a gigantic upset in the Central League title contest because of a player like Kaylyn Crowley, a senior guard who seldom scores.

Crowley had a couple of shots that were off the mark early in the 40-31 loss Monday night. After some words of encouragement from Fisher, Crowley continued to shoot. She hit three field goals for six points, which doesn’t stand out on the stat sheet, but her contributions helped keep the Panthers alive.

“After two air balls, I was a little down in the dumps, but Katie kept me up and told me to keep shooting,’ Crowley said. “She’s a great player and as a team we started playing really well together. It’s what makes it fun to play together, we all pick each other up.’

Keaveney is confident in Crowley’s ability to make the big shot and play sound defense, and he can say the same for Ami Iannello, Bridget Sherry and the rest of his players who might not score a lot on a regular basis. But as Garnet Valley found out Monday, if you leave them open, they can make you pay.

“We’ve been trying to stress with everybody that we need five people on the floor ready to shoot and ready to score,’ Keaveney said. “I think the last couple of games, they’ve all done that. They’ve had the open shots and they been making them, and that makes a huge difference for us. It opens up the floor for Rachel and Katie and it really helped out (Monday night), it took Garnet Valley out of what they wanted to do defensively.’

It’s why the Panthers have reached this point, an opportunity to extend their season beyond the second week of February. It starts with a first-round District One tournament game against a familiar foe, whom Strath Haven has faced three times since Jan. 22 and twice since last Thursday. Strath Haven hosts No. 19 Radnor (16-7) Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

Radnor beat the Panthers last Thursday on the final day of the regular season to force a tie for the final spot in the league playoffs. The Raiders won the tiebreaker and faced Strath Haven two days later in the Central semifinals. Sherry scored a team-high 13 points as Strath Haven earned a 46-44 decision over junior forward Kristin Hamill and the Raiders, who captured the District One Class AAA title last winter.

“We’ll have played them three times in 10 days,’ Keaveney said. “It’s going to be a great game. Radnor is a tough matchup for us and we’re a tough matchup for them. I think it’s going to come down to who turns the ball over less. Who knows what’s going to happen.’


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