Mount St. Joseph comeback fall short

Springfield — The Mount St. Joseph’s basketball team scratched and clawed its way back in the second half against Downingtown East Monday night after trailing by 19 in the first half, but it was not able to complete the comeback and lost, 52-47, in the third round of the District One AAAA playoffs.

“The only thing I can say is we never gave up,’ MSJ head coach John Miller said. “We played hard the entire basketball game.’

The third-seeded Magic trailed, 27-8, late in the first half before going on a 16-4 run to make it a 31-24 game in the middle of the third quarter.

The 11th-seeded Cougars followed with a 7-0 run and headed to the fourth with a 13-point lead, 40-27.

That is when the Mount made its move. MSJ scored the first seven points of the fourth and eventually trailed by only two, 45-43, with 1:30 left in the game.

The Cougars, in particularly Paige Warfel, were not going to let the game get away. Warfel scored 10 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter when East scored 12 as a team. Warfel made two baskets and went 6-for-7 from the foul line in the final frame and Kaelyn Johns, who joined Warfel in double figures with 10 points, made both of her free throws down the stretch to stay ahead of the Magic.

“They run their offense very well,’ Miller said. “We were always fighting through picks and Downingtown executed tonight and when they executed they made their shots. When they are playing like that, I think they are a tough team to beat.’

Caitlyn Cunningham was at the head of the Mount’s fourth-quarter push. She scored nine of her team-high 18 points in the final quarter and scored every way possible; she got to the rim, drained a three and made a couple of step-back jumpers.

Sarah Wills, who scored eight points in the game, chipped in five in Mount St. Joseph’s 20-point fourth quarter.

“We certainly scored enough points to win, we usually just don’t give up that many points,’ Miller said. “We pride ourselves on our defense and we just had a difficult time stopping them tonight. They are a good team.’

The Magic got off to a sluggish start early on. They fell behind by eight, 10-2, in the first four minutes of the game and found themselves trailing 27-8 with a couple of minutes left in the first half.

“I can’t give you an explanation for that,’ Miller said of the slow start. “We traveled a few times. We probably missed a few baskets that we normally make. We got off to a slow start for whatever reason.’

The Mount will face Upper Dublin Wednesday night in a game to determine seeding in the state playoffs.

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