Upper Dublin rallies past Perkiomen Valley in OT

UPPER DUBLIN — Upper Dublin was dead.

It was all over for the seventh-seeded Cardinals in Wednesday night’s PIAA District One Class AAAA girls basketball second-round playoff game.

Down five points with under 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter of their postseason tilt with 10th-seeded Perkiomen Valley, the Cardinals were moments away from the handshake line when, suddenly, their last gasp somehow inhaled meaningful air.

Julie Cross drilled a three from the top of the key, and one Vikings turnover later Allison Chernow was fouled driving to the basket.

Calmly, Chernow knocked down two free throws to force overtime, then scored four points down the stretch in the extra session to send the Cardinals to an unlikely 36-33 win, and an automatic berth in the upcoming PIAA Class AAAA championships.”A nice easy one, right?’ deadpanned Upper Dublin head coach Morgan Funsten. “We didn’t play very well tonight against a real good basketball team, and we still managed to pull it out, so I couldn’t be prouder of our team.

Indeed, the Cardinals were taken out of their game by a relentless PV team that refused to let up for a minute.

“They put hard pressure on the ball,’ Chernow said, “and we all got a little out of our comfort zone.’

PV, with KT Armstrong and Megan Jonassen (9 points, 13 rebounds) combining for all of the Vikings’ 15 first-quarter points, jumped out early, going up 15-8 after a quarter, then managed just three points in the second stanza to hold an 18-16 lead at the break.

“We kind of took a punch in the face in the first quarter,’ Funsten said. “We’re a good shooting team, and we didn’t shoot the ball well the entire game.’

“We had a game plan and we executed it very well,’ said PV head coach John Strawoet. “They have three girls who can score at any time, but we did a pretty good job on them.’

PV saw Upper Dublin climb back to tie the game early in the third quarter, but when Katie Leahy and Armsrtong drilled back-to-back threes, the Vikings led, 26-20, with 5:50 left in the quarter.

PV clung to its lead the rest of the way. But it suddenly began to melt away late in the fourth quarter.

While the Vikings’ offense struggled, the Cardinals chipped away, although they were only able to get within 31-26 with under 30 seconds left.

Cross (14 points, 15 rebounds) nailed a three-ball with 24 ticks left to pull the home team within two, then a crucial turnover followed.

“You just can’t turn the ball over when you’re up five late in the game,’ Strawoet said. “That switched momentum, and when that happened, (Upper Dublin) took advantage.’

With just eight seconds left, a steal turned into two clutch free throws by Chernow.

“I knew what the situation was,’ Chernow said, “but I really wasn’t thinking about it.

“I wasn’t playing my best game, but my team needed me there.’

In overtime, PV led once, when Leahy canned a pair of free throws after Cross split a pair.

But Chernow came up huge again, making another steal and giving the Cardinals the lead for good with a layup.

Two more free throws by Chernow opened the lead to three, and PV had an open three to tie the game. But when the shot rattled off the rim, the Cardinals were rattling their way to the state tournament.

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