Christopher Dock denied by Delco Christian in District 1-A quarters

TOWAMENCIN — The Christopher Dock girls remember the last time they played Delco Christian and they remember it well. A few things were different this time around.

With their season on the line in the opening round of the District 1-A playoffs, the Pioneers were not going to let the Lady Knights’ Siani McNeil make it look as easy as she did in the regular-season contest in Newton Square.

McNeil, who scored 27 points in a win, was limited to eight points in the playoff contest. But even the extra attention toward the junior could not change the outcome. The Pioneers got down early, fought back to within one point only to fall 37-32 on their home floor.

“I am really proud of the girls,’ Knights coach Mark Weaver said. “We split with them, this was the rubber match, and we got the breaks today.’

All of McNeil’s points came in the second half and it was the play of her teammates that carried the Lady Knights to the final four of the District 1-A bracket. The Knights were led by Paige Thompson with 10 points. Delco plays top-seeded Phil-Mont Christian at Cheltenham Tuesday. The game will be the nightcap of a double header with the other semifinal game.

“Claudia Norton hit a couple key shots and made them come out a little bit,’ Weaver said. “They were obviously keying on McNeil and I said if we can lead by six points at halftime and Siani does not score, so be it. That’s what team basketball is.’

“We tried to play zone against them and a couple other girls hit some shots,’ Pioneers coach Al Grenfell said. “We just did not hit enough shots on our end to win the game.’

The Pioneers’ Lanae Hunsberger did not care there was a hand in her face. She hit a pair of three-pointers right before the third-quarter buzzer to bring her team within three-points. Then Laura Swintowsky swished a pair of free throws to start the fourth quarter to inch to a 31-30 score. Hunsberger had 10 and the sophomore Swintowksy led all scorers with 15 points.

“I thought when Lanae hit those three it would get us going,’ Grenfell said. “But we made too many long passes that turned into turnovers and we missed five three-throws in the fourth quarter.’

Swintosky and the Pioneers were unable to register a field goal in the final five minutes of the action. The young group hopes to come back next season with a little more composure in the stretch run of games. This year was a learning season for both the girls and first-year coach Grenfell.

“I am looking forward to having Megan back next year,’ Grenfell said. “We are going to work on her turn and shoot. I did not step on any toes this season and just let them have fun. We had fun, but hopefully the girls come back next year and things are different in my second season.’

In the final two minutes of the contest, the Lady Knights slowed the tempo trying to hold onto a mini-upset, a fifth seed topping the four seed. Winning on the road in the postseason is an impressive feat and Weaver was proud of what his group accomplished.

“Looking forward to playing, I assume, Phil-Mont,’ Weaver said. “It will be the third time we play them this year. Phil-Mont is pretty big, so we will use the David and Goliath analogy. We are looking forward to the challenge.’

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