Bonner-Prendie needs Young at her best

There’s no question who the best player is at all times during a Bonner-Prendergast basketball game. Alyssa Monaghan gives opposing teams nightmares.

But contributions from key role players are imperative to success in any sport, and that’s largely been the case for the Pandas in 2014-15.

Bonner-Prendie’s emphasis on its supporting cast started when Monaghan got injured in a preseason scrimmage and missed the first seven games of the regular season. Later, starting center Shalina Miller would miss time with an ailment. In their absence, Amber Ballinger and Mary Anne Young, both seniors, carried the weight along with junior Lynette Laboy and underclassmen Maggie McPeak and Nyah Garrison. Unfortunately, Ballinger also suffered an injury that has kept her out of action for the last month. Princess Clemons, who was poised to have a big year, tore her ACL in the offseason.

So, that makes Young as the only projected starter coming into the season not to have been bitten by the injury bug.

“It’s … whatever I can do for the team,’ Young said after last Saturday’s PIAA Class AAA tournament first-round victory over Gwynedd Mercy.

Young didn’t mince words about her lack of scoring over the last several weeks. She has worked incessantly on her shooting form. In practice, she does drills alongside Monaghan.

So, when Young chipped in 11 huge points Saturday, there was cause for celebration. Young felt a big weight lift off her shoulders as she performed a vital job in helping the Pandas clinch their first state tournament win in program history. Young drilled three 3-pointers, including one that tied the score in the third quarter, and made two clutch foul shots in the fourth quarter. That’s 11 total points for Young, who hadn’t reached double figures since she tossed in 16 in a 72-32 rout of Bishop McDevitt in December.

“I haven’t scored in a while and it shows,’ Young said with a tinge of dry humor. “It felt good. I knew when I had the open shot, I was going to take it.’

Bonner-Prendie coach Tom Stewart’s eyes lit up when he spoke of Young’s effort after the game. He knew it was only a matter of time before one of his most unheralded players did something significant in the scoring column.

“Mary Anne hasn’t made a shot in a while and banged out three 3s, made her foul shots. It was great to see that out of her,’ he said. “She shoots with Alyssa everyday in practice, so hopefully it rubs off on her. She has this habit where she grabs the ball and it doesn’t have any spin. Yesterday she said she was going to work on her left, but I told her to keep working on her right. Today she really helped us.’

The Pandas (15-8) meet District Three third-place finisher West York in Wednesday’s second-round game at Coatesville High. Tip off is 6 p.m.

If the Pandas want to move on, of course they need another big outing from Monaghan, the Catholic League MVP and two-time All-Delco guard. They also need another dominating display from the towering Miller, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks against Gwynedd Mercy. But they might also require another big game from Young, and she’s certainly up for the task.

In PIAA Class AAAA second-round games Tuesday:

Archbishop Carroll (17-8) vs. North Penn (21-7) at Colonial Elementary (Plymouth-Whitemarsh), 6

In the first round, the Patriots, District 12’s third seed, jumped to a 20-4 first-quarter lead against Spring-Ford and cruised to a 57-37 victory.

The Patriots received double-digit efforts from senior guards Julia Gantz (13 points), Keara McNulty (12) and Lexi Stover (11), who returned after missing the previous two games due to injury.

North Penn claimed a 53-37 victory over District Two champion Pittston Area. Sam Carangi netted 11 of her game-high 17 points and Mikaela Giuliani added 11 points for District One’s seventh-place team.

Cardinal O’Hara (21-5) vs. Central Dauphin East (24-2) at Penn Manor, 6

The District 12 champion Lions, led by sophomore sensations Mary Sheehan and Hannah Nihill, recovered from a slow start against District One ninth-place finisher Radnor to win going away, 54-36. Sheehan fell a point shy of matching a career high with 23 points, while Nihill chipped in with 10.

Michaela Gelbaugh led all players with 18 points in CD East’s 50-34 triumph over Parkland and recently scored her 1,000th career point. CD East lost to Cumberland Valley in the semifinals of the District Three tournament, 65-26.

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