Spring-Ford sinks No. 1 seed Boyertown in District 1-AAAA second round, seals return to PIAA playoffs

BOYERTOWN — As far as Julia Roshelli, Abby Beyer and Maggie Locke know, the high school basketball season ends in March.

That isn’t a given for any player or team, but for the Spring-Ford senior class it’s become close to it.

The degree of difficulty for getting to March — that means playing in the PIAA Championships — was maybe as high as its been for the Rams on Wednesday night, the No. 16 seed pitted against the undefeated No. 1 seed — a team they had already lost to twice — in the second round of the District 1-AAAA girls basketball playoffs with an automatic state berth on the line.

Instead of wilting, Spring-Ford put on one of its most complete performances of the season, building as much as a 16-point lead to start the fourth quarter while controlling previously unbeaten Boyertown on both ends of the floor to march on in the district playoffs with a 45-38 victory.

The balanced Rams (16-8), which are guaranteed a spot in the PIAA playoffs by reaching the district quarterfinals, got 11 points from Maggie Locke, eight from Sydney Wagner, six apiece from Roshelli and Amy Roth while Beyer scored seven points and had a game-high nine rebounds.

“We knew coming off of two losses to Boyertown (38-36 on Dec. 18, 46-44 on Jan. 29) they were fighting but we came back fighting harder,’ Roshelli said. “This time we knew they were going to fight back in the second, third and fourth quarter but we just didn’t let them. We played together, played our defense the whole time.’

They advance to face No. 8 North Penn, which defeated No. 9 Bishop Shanahan 55-40 on Tuesday, in the quarterfinals (tentatively set for 1 p.m. on Saturday) in a rematch of last season’s District 1-AAAA title game.

After Saturday’s first-round win over Marple Newtown, Rams players spoke at sub-par defense being their demise in losses. There were no signs of those troubles against the Bears, which were led by Ali Bauman’s 10 points.

Roshelli led the charge as Spring-Ford held Boyertown leading scorer Abby Kapp, who was in foul trouble for much of the game, to six points.

“We’ve been working a lot in practice on our defense and I think that was our main goal, to come out strong because that would control the rest of the game,’ Beyer said. “We really wanted to control the tempo because we knew that would play in our favor.’

Recently unseated as Pioneer Athletic Conference champion by Boyertown, the Rams were cast in an unfamiliar role as the No. 16 seed and underdogs to the top-seeded Bears. But that wasn’t evident on the floor.

“Our biggest thing coming in to tonight was telling the girls to just have fun. If there’s pressure, it has to be on (Boyertown),’ Spring-Ford coach Mickey McDaniel said. “An undefeated season and they’ve beaten us twice so we felt like we had nothing to lose. If we go out, have fun and play hard good things will happen. And fortunately tonight good things happened.

“They played relaxed. There are nights where they put pressure on themselves and almost play not to lose, but tonight we played to win. That’s what having fun is, playing without pressure and playing to win.’

In past years, the loss would have been the cruelest of fates for Boyertown, its first loss being a season-ender. But one loss doesn’t signal the end for the Bears with District 1 getting 10 berths to states for the first time. The Bears will be back in action in playbacks for the No. 9 and 10 seeds against Bishop Shanahan on Saturday.

“We just didn’t come out with as much strength as we have in the past. Spring-Ford had a really good game, they came out on fire,’ Bears senior guard Jordan Webb said. “The game is over now and we’re looking toward the next game in districts. If we win two games in districts we’re in states and maybe we’ll see Spring-Ford again. We’re going to move on, look forward and not worry about this game anymore. We’re going to keep pushing.’

Beyer keyed the Rams confident start with a 3-pointer, an offensive rebound and putback and a pull-up baseline jumper — a spot on the floor S-F generated a good amount of offense throughout — to open a 14-8 lead at the start of the second quarter.

Spring-Ford led 22-17 at halftime and got hot in the third quarter, holding Boyertown to four points in the frame.

A Wagner layup gave the Rams their biggest lead at 37-21 to open the fourth quarter. Down 16, the Bears went with a full-court press and got itself crucial turnovers to close to within seven points on a number of occasions. But never fewer with Wagner and Roth sealing it at the free-throw line.

“We couldn’t find a good rhythm tonight,’ Webb said. “We played well defensively at the end but overall they broke our press and did well handling the ball under our pressure.’

Few thought making states was a lock after the graduation of the likes of Sammy Stipa and Shelby Mueller from last year’s PIAA finalist, but the returning players only know playing into March.

They weren’t about to stop now.

“The past seniors left their legacy for us and we know that it’s our turn to leave our legacy for the girls below us and that’s what we strive to do,’ Roshelli said.

“People are really stepping up because we did lose big seniors last year, so I think everyone has been stepping up and working together,’ Beyer said. “I always say, I’d never want to play with another team. This team is awesome and I’m so happy I get to play with them.’

NOTES — Spring-Ford cut down the Bears’ height advantage and led in rebounding 28-18. … The Rams were 17-for-37 from the field while the Bears were 13-for-37.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply