Shipley wins second consecutive Pa. Independent Schools state crown

Throughout the year, the Shipley girls’ basketball coaching staff has been the beneficiary of seeing a different player step up in key situations.

On Feb. 23, it was sophomore Yndiah Bobo who stole the show (literally), coming up with two big plays down the stretch to help seal Shipley’s 53-49 win over Germantown Academy in the championship game of the Pa. Independent Schools state tournament held on a snowy morning at Malvern Prep.

With Shipley holding a slim 49-46 lead, Bobo came up with her biggest steal of the season. With her back to the play, Bobo watched the eyes of her player she was defending tipping the ball away at the last second and then going in for the lay-up while getting fouled to give her team a 51-46 lead with 1:29 remaining.

“I wasn’t really trying to steal the ball,’ said Bobo, referring to the steal at mid-court. “I knew it was a point in the game we had to keep up the intensity and needed a big play.’

Senior co-captain Nia Holland added, “I knew she could come up with a big play. She has been doing it all season.’

Following an Erin Lindahl bucket to slice Shipley’s lead to 51-48, Bobo came up with a huge rebound and made one of two free throws to give Shipley a 52-48 lead thus ending any hopes of a Patriot comeback.

“As a sophomore she (Bobo) has figured out when she needs to make big plays for her team which is a rare thing,’ Costello said following the game. “You typically see this from a senior. To see this as a sophomore is huge. She came up with a couple of steals that helped seal the win.’

The state championship win was Shipley’s second consecutive Pa. Independent state title and its third in four years.

“It’s very satisfying,’ said co-head coach Kevin Costello. “I am very proud of the way this great group of kids pushed through all of the setbacks including illnesses and injuries that happened this year. We started the year with the goal of winning the Friend’s Schools League and a state title. We came up short in the Friend’s Schools League but we re-committed ourselves to winning the state title and the girls did just that.’

“We entered the gym after losing the Friend’s Schools League knowing we never wanted to experience that feeling again,’ said Holland, referring to how they felt following their loss on February 13 to Friends’ Central in the Friend’s Schools League championship game. “We knew we had to re-focus and concentrate and that’s what we did to accomplish this goal.’

To accompany Bobo, Shipley also received key contributions from senior co-captain Martine Fortune who finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and one steal while Holland finished with 14 points and five assists.

Bobo’s performance on the big stage Saturday is one Shipley has seen in recent years from Sox Alexander- now a freshman at St. John’s- and Holland in previous years.

“I learned so much from Nia and Sox,’ said Bobo, who finished with 14 points, five steals and four rebounds. “They are both really great players who taught me a lot.’

With the game plan set that Bobo would learn from Holland just as Holland learned from Alexander, things don’t always work out as planned. With Holland sidelined for the first six weeks due to meniscus surgery, Bobo knew she had to step up.

“I just told her to play to her strengths,’ Holland said. “She sees the court well. All she needed was confidence. I think as the season went on so did her confidence.’

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