Episcopal Academy girls’ basketball squad comes up with big plays at InterAc-FSL Challenge

Big plays in key moments have always been a coach’s best friend. If you add in one of those big plays was made by a senior reserve that just serves as a bonus.

This past weekend during the Inter-Ac-Friends Schools League challenge held at the Shipley School, Episcopal Academy girls’ basketball coach Chuck Simmonds was the beneficiary with his squad defeating Abington Friends 53-47 on Dec. 4, before returning the following day and handing Shipley a 55-45 defeat, thanks to a pair of big plays late in the contest.

Holding a slim 46-42 lead with 33:28 remaining, Episcopal senior reserve guard Courtnie Williamson came up with a big steal before going the length of the court and converting the lay-up to push the lead to 48-42 that sent her squad on a 7-3 run to end the game and provide the final margin.

“I try to focus on defense,” said Williamson, who finished with 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. “I try to set the tone on offense with my defense and in that case I was just trying to play to my strength.”

“That play was really big,” said senior co-captain Lily Kuntz, referring to the play made by Williamson in the 4th quarter. “It got us going and allowed us to control the game from there.”

Following Williamson’s big play, the Churchwomen came up with another big defensive stop that was followed by the conventional three-point play from Lily Kuntz who converted the lay-up and the ensuing foul shot on a pass from Luca Mamula to push the lead to 51-42.

Entering the season knowing Simmonds would have to turn to his bench in key moments the one thing he did not realize was how soon that time would come. With total confidence in his entire squad, Simmonds had to make adjustments to open the season due to the fact he was missing three key players for the opening weekend.

The confidence and patience the coaching staff had paid off as his young squad battled through a pair of tough contests winning the final quarter in each game to help propel a pair of wins.

With Elodie Furey, Dylan Higgins and Margaux Paolino unavailable, Simmonds turned to junior Reilly Wright,  Seanna McNamara, Luca Mamula, Olivia Dinks and Katie Weaver who all stepped up making contributions in their own way to help give the team a big lift.

“These two wins are huge,” said Simmonds. “There were players out there today that we’re counting on to contribute. They obviously have the ability so it kind of worked out in a backwards sort of way, not the way you want it to happen. It was nice to see.”

“This was a huge win,” said Kuntz, who finished with a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds. “It was great to see everyone contribute and get our confidence going early.”

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