Monaghan, Miller push Pandas to quarterfinals

CALN — If Wednesday night had to be the final game in Alyssa Monaghan’s spectacular high school basketball career, she would leave nothing in the tank.

Monaghan, the two-time All-Delco and repeat Catholic League MVP, gave it everything she had.

Along with fellow seniors Shalina Miller and Mary Anne Young, Monaghan never crumbled when the Pandas trailed by 10 points and were simply being outplayed by West York in the first half of a PIAA Class AAA second-round contest.

The Pandas hung around and found themselves down five points after three quarters, well within striking distance. Monaghan hit big shots, Miller delivered a series of huge blocks, and Young provided solid defense down the stretch.

It required two heart-thumping overtime periods, but Bonner-Prendie got it done. Monaghan, the Saint Joseph’s bound senior guard, dropped in 32 points and drilled the go-ahead shot in the second extra session to lift the Pandas to a 59-53 victory over West York at Coatesville High.

Bonner-Prendie (16-8) moves on to meet Catholic League foe Archbishop Wood in the quarterfinal round Saturday.

Monaghan has 1,430 points for her career, surpassing Stephanie Graff’s record (1,429) for most points by an Archbishop Prendergast/Bonner-Prendergast player. However, it’s worth noting that what Monaghan did her freshman season at Cardinal O’Hara is included in the total.

“It’s definitely the most exciting win,’ Monaghan said. “Knowing that we have a chance to make a good run, I had to push through. It keeps us going, keeps me going, I guess. Knowing that we play Wood next, we were all thinking we wanted the chance to play them again and now we do.’

Monaghan’s fourth trey of the night gave Bonner-Prendie a one-point advantage it would not relinquish a minute into the second overtime. She had a hand in her face, but Monaghan, as she tends to do, made it look easy.

“It can’t be in an out-of-control way, but I know there are times I’ve got to put those shots up,’ she said. “If it goes in, it goes in. If it doesn’t, just keep shooting.’

Monaghan was 9-of-24 from the floor. She also dished out four assists. She was hit-or-miss with her free throws (5-of-10), especially toward the end when exhaustion set in, but Miller was there to pick her up. The La Salle-bound center had a key block and made her freebies to help seal the victory. Miller finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. Her biggest swat came when Katie Tallman attempted to beat her to the hoop in the final minute of the game.

“Shalina, down the stretch, was huge. She missed a lot of layups, but she came back and had big blocks, rebounds and two foul shots,’ Bonner-Prendie coach Tom Stewart said. “Alyssa was just dead tired, so we needed Shalina.’

West York knew it had to contain Monaghan, but worried that Miller would dominate. At 6-3, Miller had a six-inch size advantage on the Bulldogs’ tallest starter (Sela Fuhrman). For the most part, West York held its own, but Miller got the best of the Bulldogs (29-2) during a time when the Pandas needed her the most.

“I thought we were ready for (Monaghan), but she scored big time. Takes a lot of shots, too,’ said West York coach Darrell Wildasin, whose team attempted just 11 foul shots compared to B-P’s 25. “We were a little undersized there (against Miller), that’s a little bit of a problem. Tallman usually does a very good job against bigs and she stepped up her intensity around the middle of the game, I thought. But (Miller) played as big as the point guard (Monaghan) did in the second half, I thought.’

Young came away with a clean swipe and raced to the opposite end for a layup to pull the Pandas within three points late in regulation. Monaghan delivered at the charity stripe to even the score. West York threw the ball out of play on its ensuing possession, leaving the Pandas with a chance to win it with five seconds to go. Monaghan’s desperation 3-point attempt went off the mark as time expired.

In the first extra session, point guard Kari Lankford, who’d eventually foul out with 14 points and seven assists, hit a runner to put West York ahead. Moments later Monaghan hit a foul shot to even things up. After Young forced a West York turnover, Bonner-Prendie again held for the last shot, but Monaghan lost handle of the ball and was forced to launch an awkward shot as time elapsed.

In the second OT, Fuhrman banked a pair of freebies to give West York its final lead before Monaghan connected from long range to put the Pandas in front to stay.

Emily Wood shared a team-high 14 points with Lankford, and Fuhrman pulled down nine rebounds for West York.

Sophomore Caroline Manfre played exceptional defense off the bench and grabbed seven rebounds for the Pandas.

“It’s so exciting,’ Monaghan said. “We definitely didn’t imagine going this far, but we’re very happy that we’re here.’

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