Eagles done in by second-half woes

TOWAMENCIN — What appeared to be a promising night for ninth-seeded Bishop Shanahan, quickly turned into a nightmare. A second-half collapse doomed the Eagles, as they fell to No. 8 North Penn 55-40 in the second round of the girls basketball District 1 Class AAAA playoffs on Wednesday night.

North Penn clinched a berth in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs and will move on to play Spring-Ford in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Bishop Shanahan now sinks into the consolation bracket, and will play top-seeded Boyertown on Saturday in hopes of keeping its season alive.

The Eagles (23-4) used hot shooting in the opening half to gain an early advantage. Junior Ciara Forde (12 points) and freshman Devon Adams (8) appeared unstoppable, combining for 20 of the team’s 31 points.

“The shots were dropping in the first half, Forde said. “When you make a few in a row that definitely helps.’

With Forde catching fire, the Knights’ (18-6) defense lost the luxury of double-teaming the Adams in the paint.

“All our shots were falling in the first half,’ Adams said. “We came out and played hard and we came out with a lot of intensity. I just tried my best to get open and help my teammates find me.’

The Eagles moved the ball extremely well in the perimeter. They were also able to expose North Penn’s defense when they were able to penetrate inside.

“I thought our energy was pretty good to start the game. I thought the kids hustled and played really hard all night. We were able to make shots in the first half. Therefore we were right there in the game,’ Shanahan’s coach Fran Burbidge said.

With the help of their flourishing offense, and robust defense, they took a 31-27 lead into halftime.

The final two quarters could not have been any more contrasting than the first two. The Knights’ defense made it their number one task to keep the ball out of the hands of Forde and Adams. Their strategy worked. The Eagles converted on one field goal, and only scored nine points in the final 16 minutes of play.

“We weren’t able to get into any offensive sets. We took bad shots. We just didn’t do what we needed to do to win. We didn’t play the second half like we did the first half,’ Forde said.

Forde was held to one point, finishing with 13 on the night, while Adams converted on four free-throws, capping off a 12-point evening.

“In the second half we weren’t able to make shots,’ Adams said. “They just were not falling. We need to bounce back and try and shake this one off.’

On the defensive end of the floor, they had no answer for Knight’s guard Jess Huber. Huber buried three 3-pointers, which helped her tally a game-high 20 points.

As ugly as the 28-9 North Penn second-half run was for the visitors, Burbidge believed that a few made shots could have changed the complexion of the game.

“If we make a few of those shots we were given in the second half, it may be a different story tonight,’ Burbidge said. I think what happened was we got impatient, and got away from our strengths. But you have to give them credit, they played a better second half than we did. They made shots.’

Shanahan also face the hurtle of playing without their senior-captain Rachel Parker, who broke her arm in their first round game last Saturday.

“Rachel is a team captain, and great player. We obviously missed her but that we are not about making excuses. We had an opportunity tonight, and we didn’t make shots in the second half. We now have our backs against the wall, there is no safety net, we have to lace them up again and get ready for our next game,’ Burbidge said.

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