Snow joke … Corrento, Sun Valley advance

LOWER MORELAND — It was worth the wait.

Before Monday, the last time Sun Valley had suited up to play a basketball game that counted — you know, with a clock, officials and a supporting crowd — was Feb. 3, 2015. Finally, the fifth-seeded Vanguards traveled to No. 4 Lower Moreland for a District One Class AAA quarterfinal contest.

You can’t say Sun Valley didn’t try its best to prepare for this one.

“Of course, even the scrimmage we were supposed to have got snowed out,’ sophomore Kate Lannon said.

That’s funny.

“So at first,’ Lannon continued, “we were very cold.’

But Madison Corrento didn’t waste any time heating up. The senior guard kept the Vanguards afloat when everyone else on the team was still warming to the reality of live game action. More importantly, in the latter stages of regulation and in overtime, Corrento delivered several key baskets — from the field and the foul line — to lead Sun Valley to a 57-52 victory over Lower Moreland.

Corrento netted a career-high 24 points for the Vanguards, who take on No. 1-seeded Gwynedd Mercy in Wednesday’s semifinal round at Wissahickon High. Win or lose, the Vanguards will have at least two more shots to clinch a berth in the state tournament (the top three teams qualify).

“It’s the best feeling I’ve felt all year,’ said Corrento, who shot 6-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-5 from long range. Furthermore, Corrento was money from the charity stripe, knocking down nine of her 11 attempts.

Let’s break down all the ways Corrento helped push the Vanguards into the district semis for the first time in program history…

She hit not one, but two buzzer-beating buckets. OK, so the second one came when there were two seconds left on the third-period clock, but the deuce put Sun Valley back ahead by two points.

The first one? Corrento heaved a running 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Vanguards their largest advantage, 27-21.

She was having a special night already, but Corrento saved her best for the second half. In the fourth quarter, she rebounded her missed layup and was fouled in the process of shooting. She calmly swished a pair of free throws, atoning for two bricks earlier in the stanza. The points tied the score, 46-46, and eventually forced overtime.

In between Corrento’s big moments, there was Carson Adelberger’s steal that spoiled any shot at Lower Moreland winning in regulation. The swipe set up Lannon for the chance to be the hero. One of the top scorers in Delco, Lannon’s 3-point attempt looked great off her fingertips, but missed. A pair of putback attempts went off the mark as the horn sounded.

“We were nervous in the beginning because we haven’t played in so long and we didn’t know what to expect,’ Corrento said. “Especially a team right at our level, we knew it was going to be a battle. We couldn’t just come in and mess around. We had to be serious from the start.’

In the extra session, Corrento nailed the 3-pointer that gave the Vanguards an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish. Lower Moreland sliced the deficit to one (49-48), but Corrento went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line on Sun Valley’s next two possessions. Moments later, Brooke Duncan sealed the deal from — you guessed it — the foul line. Sun Valley was 11-for-14 in the fourth quarter and OT from the stripe.

Corrento remembers the last time Sun Valley played Lower Moreland in districts. In 2013, the Vanguards lost in the same gym as then-freshman Lauren Killion made the go-ahead field goal with 12 seconds to play. Monday night, Killion led the Lions with 20 points, including the 1,000th of her career. Sun Valley also had to deal with Rachel Millan (14 points) and Kaley Przybylinski (10), both of whom showed they can shoot from just about anywhere on the floor.

“It’s exciting to beat them, it’s exciting for the program and it’s exciting for the school to get past the second round,’ said Lannon, who scored 21 points and was 8-of-10 from the foul line.

Sun Valley managed to move on despite 22 turnovers; however, the Vanguards also forced LM to give away the ball on 13 occasions.

“We changed our defense at practice, working on something different. We knew they would be tough to defend because they have a lot of shooters on their team,’ Corrento said. “We struggled a little in the beginning, but we adjusted to it and did what we needed to do.’

The Vanguards get to keep playing and, better yet, don’t have to wait around for three weeks.

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