Delco Christian proves it’s more than McNeil in Districts win

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 One Class A payoffs, the Pioneers were not going to let the Lady Knights’ Siani McNeil make it look as easy as she did in a regular season contest.

McNeil, who scored 27 points in the first win over Dock, was limited to eight points in Friday’s meeting. But even the extra attention paid to the junior couldn’t change the outcome. The Pioneers got down early and fought back to within one point, only to fall, 37-32.

“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, including Paige Thompson’s 10 points, that carried Delco Christian to the final four of the District One Class A bracket. The Lady Knights will play either top-seeded Phil-Mont Christian or eighth-seeded Plumstead Christian at Cheltenham. The game will be the nightcap of a semifinal doubleheader.

“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 3-pointers right before the third quarter buzzer to bring her team within three points. Hunsberger had 10 and the sophomore Swintowksy led all scorers with 15 points.

“I thought when Lanae hit those 3s it would get us going,’ Grenfell said. “But we made too many long passes that turned into turnovers and we missed five free throws in the fourth quarter.’

Swintosky and the Pioneers were unable to register a field goal in the final five minutes.

In the closing minutes of the contest, the Knights slowed the tempo as they tried to hold onto a mini-upset, a No. 5 seed topping the No. 4 seed. Winning on the road in the postseason is an impressive feat and coach Weaver was proud of what his group was able to accomplish.

“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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