Garnet Valley holds on to secure state berth

CONCORD — When the district basketball playoffs begin, the easy way for a team to qualify for the PIAA Tournament is to win its first two district games.

Fourth-seeded Garnet Valley found out that hosting No. 13 Cheltenham Wednesday wouldn’t be as easy as it might have seemed after a one-sided opening-round romp past Upper Merion last week.

The Jaguars (23-2) put on an amazing shooting display in the third period Wednesday, then they held on as the Panthers (18-6) did their best to match them. In the final eight minutes, Garnet Valley lost leading scorer Macy Goldbach (18 points, three rebounds, two steals, one assist, one blocked shot) 2:38 before the game ended and made only two field goals.

Down the stretch, the Jags who took the court took turns coming up with key plays as Garnet Valley earned its ticket to the state tourney by claiming a 52-48 decision over Cheltenham.

The Jaguars will host No. 5 Abington in the quarterfinal round. Last winter, the Ghosts knocked GV into the play-back bracket by claiming a second-round road win.

Goldbach and Maddie Ireland (16 points, two rebounds, two steals, two assists) both knocked down three third-period shots from behind the arc as Garnet Valley, which led by one point at halftime, built its advantage to nine points. Junior Emily Mathewson got into the act with a 3-pointer of her own.

“I’m usually in there for defense,’ Mathewson said. “It just happened in the heat of the moment. And it was my first 3-pointer this year.’

Sophomore Ashley Jones (24 points, five rebounds, four steals, one assist) was throwing in five long-range bombs in the third period at the other end of the floor, including one from just over midcourt at the buzzer which pulled Cheltenham within three points of the lead.

“She was taking those shots from way behind the line and with a hand in her face, and she still kept making them,’ Ireland, who shared defensive responsibilities on Jones with Goldbach and Jordan Ireland, said.

Jordan Ireland hit what turned out to be the biggest 3-ball of the game to put Garnet Valley ahead, 47-45, with 3:10 to play, but 32 seconds later Goldbach fouled out.

“My shots started going down and I was on a roll,’ Goldbach said of her success in the third period. “We were hoping we could get some breathing room, and then I fouled out for the first time all season.

“I couldn’t believe it. But everyone on this team stayed so composed.’

Monet McGorda fired up a 3-pointer to put Cheltenham back ahead (48-47) with 1:22 left, but GV sophomore Sydney Fail was fouled on a shot behind the arc and connected on two of three tries as the Jags went up to stay.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply