Ireland sisters lead Garnet Valley past North Penn in District 1-AAAA playbacks

CONCORD — Throughout the first half, North Penn’s defense had Garnet Valley struggling to find open shots and all together out of sync while held to 18 points on its home floor.

But after the break, the fourth-seeded Jaguars began to break free.

“I think once you start hitting (shots), you feel it, and then the whole team feels it and you start to get really amped up,’ said Garnet Valley’s Jordan Ireland. “And then (North Penn) started turning it over instead of us turning the ball over, and we got easy baskets off of that.’

Jordan Ireland scored 14 points and younger sister Maddie Ireland had the game high with 17, including a trio of threes, as Garnet Valley rallied from an early 13-point deficit to win 44-37 over the eighth-seeded Maidens in District One Class AAAA Playbacks Wednesday night.

The win advanced the Jaguars to Saturday’s fifth-place game against the winner of the Upper Dublin-Mount St. Joe’s contest. The Maidens will face the loser of the Upper Dublin-MSJ matchup on Saturday in the seventh-place game.

A three by Jordan Ireland gave the Jaguars their first lead of the night, 29-28, just before the end of the third quarter.

North Penn regained the lead early in the fourth on a three by Sam Carangi, and extended to a 33-29 advantage on a jumper by Bri Hewlett.

But costly fouls by the Maidens put Jordan and Maddie Ireland on the foul line, as GV pushed ahead 37-35, and strong shooting by the Jaguars closed it out, as Maddie Ireland’s three with about three minutes to go caused the fans to erupt and extended the margin to 40-35.

Mikaela Giuliani, who led the way for NP with a game-high 22 rebounds, sank a pair of free throws to give the Maidens hope, down 40-37, but a pair of foul shots by Jordan Ireland iced the game with 46 seconds to go.

“(In the first half), we did a really good job of switching on screens and getting out on their shooters, and we did not do a good job of that in the second half,’ Maidens coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “And the other thing we did in the second half was foul them when they penetrated.’

Early on, North Penn’s defense forced key turnovers that provided easy points in transition, as the Maidens were ahead the entire first half and led by as many as 13.

Irisa Ye’s energy on the defensive end helped key the Maidens’ early burst, as she scored six first-quarter points, with one of those baskets coming on a breakaway layup after she intercepted an outlet pass by the Jags.

Giuliani got position inside and battled for eight first-half points, including the first four points of the game to quickly put NP up 4-0.

A three by Taylor Putnam followed by a basket by Taylor Thames gave the Maidens a 19-8 edge early in the second quarter, a lead that would soon grow to 13.

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