Perkiomen Valley, Boyertown embrace second chance

Do you believe in second chances?

Class AAAA basketball in District 1 does.

Unlike all other sports, a second-round loss in the District 1 basketball playoffs doesn’t spell doom for teams in the big-school bracket.

District 1, which fields 57 of the 187 total AAAA teams, places 10 teams in the 32-team PIAA Class AAAA Championships. The number went from nine to 10 before last season.

It presents teams that make the final 16 of districts to continue their seasons.

And it’s a chance Perkiomen Valley and Boyertown are happy to have.

In the 9th/10th playback bracket, it takes two wins to qualify for the PIAA tournament.

The No. 10 seed Vikings are halfway there after Friday’s 32-27 victory over No. 15 Council Rock North. Junior standout KT Armstrong scored her 1,000th career point in the fourth quarter on her way to a game-high 16 points.

The Vikings have been at their best with their backs against the wall this season — namely a rally from eight points down in the final 3:40 in the PAC-10 semifinals to beat Pope John Paul II 50-45 or a 39-33 overtime win over Neshaminy in the first round of districts.

So Wednesday’s win-or-go-home playback game with a PIAA berth on the line against the winner of Monday’s game between No. 19 Radnor and No. 6 Rustin suits PV just fine.

“We don’t quit on anything. We’ve proven that the entire season,’ Perk Valley coach John Strawoet said. “We’re still working hard in the gym and we’re working hard to get into states. You always want that next step and that’s certainly what we want to be able to do.’

Being one of the few teams to get its game in puts the Vikings ahead of the game.

“The nice part is nobody played Saturday so we get to go down to see Rustin and Radnor play so we’ll get a good look at both teams,’ Strawoet said.

With a lineup that only features one senior playing heavy minutes (Katie Leahy), any postseason experience is good experience from the PV perspective.

“We’re young. We have (Megan) Jonasssen and (Taylor) Hamm, our two freshmen who have contributed nicely for us, and with KT and Tori (Walter) and AnaMarie Bruni, who are all juniors, the farther we go, the more experience we get and the better it is for us in future years,’ Strawoet said.

Saturday’s postponement of all district games forced Boyertown to wait as it looks to regroup from last Wednesday’s 45-38 defeat — its first of the season — to Spring-Ford.

Boyertown, which takes on No. 9 Bishop Shanahan at home on Monday (7 p.m.) in its first playback, didn’t need the extra wait. They were ready to get back out on the floor right after the final whistle last Wednesday.

“We’re looking toward the next game. If we win two games in districts we’re going to states … we’re going to move on, look forward. We’re not going to worry about this game anymore,’ senior captain Jordan Webb said. “We’re going to keep pushing.’

Triple play

In Class AAA, No. 2 Pope John Paul II opened its bid for the District 1 title in fine form with a one-sided 74-53 win over No. 7 Springfield-Montco on Friday night.

Gabby Troisi and Jenna Widdicombe were among four PJP players to score in double-figures. Troisi had 18 points and 14 rebounds while Widdicombe scored 13.

“They’re pumped, they’re ready to go,’ PJP head coach Chris Santori said. “They really want to make a run at this. You can see the attitude with them.’

The Golden Panthers will face the winner of No. 3 Merion Mercy and No. 6 Villa Maria on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Wissahickon in the semifinals.

Manic Monday

Spring-Ford was among those affected by Saturday’s postponements, the No. 16 Rams being made to wait for their rematch of last year’s District 1-AAAA title game against No. 8 North Penn.

Just like Spring-Ford did last Wednesday in its third attempt at beating Boyertown — Maggie Locke’s 11 points led a balanced performance in a 45-38 win — the Rams will be looking for a turnaround.

The Maidens won the district final last year, 63-51. Current Shippensburg player Vicky Tumasz scored 27 points. Among returning players, Irisa Ye had 12 points while sophomore Sam Carangi had 11. For Spring-Ford, Locke had 12 points.

Both teams were affected by the graduation of important seniors, which contributed to their No. 16 and No. 8 district seeds this year. But both being back in the quarterfinals shows the postseason pedigree cultivated by Spring-Ford coach Mickey McDaniel and counterpart Maggie de Marteliere of North Penn.

The other three quarterfinals — No. 5 Abington at No. 4 Garnet Valley, No. 7 Upper Dublin at No. 2 Central Bucks West and No. 11 Downingtown East at No. 3 Mt. St. Joseph — will also go off at 7 p.m. Monday.

The semifinals are slated as a doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. at Council Rock South. The final will be held Friday at 6 p.m. at Temple University.

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