Archbishop Carroll makes quick work of Spring-Ford in PIAA-AAAA opening round

HOLLAND –– Huge deficits are difficult to overcome in basketball, especially during the state playoff level of postseason games.

Spring-Ford’s girls basketball team found itself confronted with those circumstances during the opening round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs Saturday afternoon at Council Rock South High School. The Rams, the fourth-seeded team from District 1, trailed Archbishop Carroll 20-4, after the first quarter.

The Patriots, the third seed from District 12, used that early surge to establish the tempo that resulted in a 57-37 victory over the Rams.

Philadelphia Catholic League entry Archbishop Carroll (17-7 overall) advanced to the second round of states on Tuesday, March 10, against North Penn, the District 1-7 seed which won its opening-round contest, 53-37, over Pittston Friday night.

Spring-Ford saw its season come to a close at 17-11 overall after a 9-4 finish in the Pioneer Athletic Conference.

Senior Abby Beyer led the Rams with 15 points in the season finale, including two 3-pointers in the second half, when Spring-Ford made a late push. Senior guard Julia Roshelli had eight points, and forward Maggie Locke finished with seven points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.

“We just didn’t come out strong,’ said Locke, who averaged 11.0 points per game this season. “We were acting tired. I am not sure why. We didn’t realize what we had to put in to win.’

The Rams were behind 32-10 at halftime before outscoring the Patriots 27-25 in the second half.

Archbishop Carroll placed three players — all senior guards — in double digits in scoring. Julia Gantz topped the squad with 13 (one three) while Keara McNulty shot 8-for-8 at the free throw line towards her 12, and Lexi Stover nailed two treys as part of her 11 points.

“I just didn’t really want it to end,’ said Locke, who scored all seven of her points in the second half. “We had to come out strong. We have to make adjustments. We weren’t getting hands in their face on shots, and their shots were good.’

Archbishop Carrolll shot 18-for-41 (44 percent) from the field with five treys and 16-for-20 at the foul line. Jess Carney made a pair of treys to supplement the efforts of Stover and Glantz.

“I think we had a slow start,’ said Beyer, who made the Rams’ lone field goal in the first period on a jumper from the left baseline at the 5:57 mark to make it 4-2 in favor of AC at that point. “We had to realize we could be in it. But they are a phenomenal shooting team. Hats off to their team. They are really good shooters.’

Spring-Ford, on the other hand, struggled shooting from the field at 12-for-42 (29 percent) with 11-for-14 accuracy from the foul line.

Beyer will be continuing her basketball career at Elizabethtown, but she realizes the great memories she had playing at Spring-Ford for four years that made the move to the next level possible. Beyer ended the season with 28 field goals from downtown.

“I am just so blessed to be part of this team,’ said Beyer. “My four years here have been great. The program is awesome. I have nothing but great things to say about the coaches and the program.’

Six seniors will graduate from the program. Besides the three starters, guard Kali Gill, forward Lauryn Hart and guard Jill Mariani have seen their scholastic careers come to a close.

“They all contributed so much to our program,’ said Rams head coach Mickey McDaniel. “It is always a sad day when some kids’ careers come to an end.’

McDaniel realized the big early deficit was too massive to try to overcome. Carroll knocked down four threes in the first eight minutes with Stover scoring 10 points in the first stanza with both of her field goals from long distance.

“No doubt, they got that early lead,’ said McDaniel. “But we played well. We kept working and played well. We made a run at it. Give Carroll credit. They shot the ball really well from the perimeter. We were a half-step slow getting out to guard them. When you play good teams, you can’t afford to let down. We had to keep working hard, and they did. We just hit a tough time down the end (season).’

McDaniel said the Rams knew coming into the contest how well the Patriots handle the ball on the perimeter and the ability they have to kick it inside and then back outside.

“We wanted to cheat out and get on their shooters,’ said McDaniel. “But they made them anyway. They just knocked them down.’

Senior guard Ann McKnight chipped in eight points, five rebounds and a steal for the Patriots. AC also got good work underneath the basket at both ends of the floor from Kristen Ryan, a 6-0 senior, and fellow 6-footer Lexi Kucia, who posted three points, five boards and a steal.

Notes — Archbishop Carroll held a 32-21 rebounding advantage. … Rams made 13 turnovers to the Patriots’ 14 miscues.

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