Berwyn – Growing up in a family that included older brothers, Conestoga junior Liz Scott learned an early life lesson to never give up.
That attitude carried over into high school, and on Feb. 17, Scott and her Conestoga teammates earned a gutsy 51-43 win over No. 10 seed Central Bucks West in the second round of the PIAA District One Class AAAA tournament and advanced to the district quarterfinals against Perkiomen Valley, clinching the team’s first berth in the state tournament since 2007.
“Giving up is not in my vocabulary and a lot of my teammates have that characteristic,” said Scott, who finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.
“One hundred percent, this was a team win,” said Scott. “We’re not just one girl, three girls, five girls. We are 15 girls strong and everybody fills their role to the best of their ability.”
Mack, who finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals, added, “This will be my first time going to States and it’s the first time for any of these girls to go to States in basketball is exciting and will be a good experience for everyone. We have not done it since 2007, when two of the best players (Kristen Johnson and Chelsea Shine) ever to play at Conestoga went to States, so to be on that same level is really honoring for us. Our team would not be the same without everyone playing together.”
With Conestoga trailing 28-23 going into halftime, the Pioneer coaching staff reiterated the game plan and told them to play the same way they have all season – fill your role and play as a team.
A sequence of their team play came early in the fourth quarter when Maria Koblish hit a driving lay-up, thanks to a pick Scott set just above the top of the key to give the hosts a 38-36 lead.
With Conestoga holding a 40-38 lead, the Bucks appeared to have a good chance at tying the game but there was Scott again forcing her opponent to dribble out of bounds.
“These are the kinds of things Liz Scott does for our team,” said Conestoga head coach Chris Jeffries. “She is the glue that holds this team together. She is strong on the boards, a ball hawk on defense and does everything we ask and she does not get enough credit however she is a key cog in our wheel.”
The opportunistic Pioneers took advantage of the miscue as Koblish buried another key shot to push the lead to 42-38. The visitors would fight back to knot the score at 42-42 but from there it was all Conestoga who closed the game on a 9-1 run to provide the final margin. In the second half the Pioneers outscored the Bucks 28-15 with Mack and Koblish combining for 23 of those points.
“Ellie does what great players do,” coach Chris Jeffries said. “She is as reliable as it gets. She is an incredible rebounder. She is an incredible passer. She sees the floor. She has a deadly pull-up jump shot.”
Jeffries added, “Maria is a dynamic offensive player, who can shoot, can drive to the basket and I believe she grabbed our last four rebounds to help secure the game. It’s about knowing your role and staying within that role. I believe our team was outstanding in filling their roles.”
No stranger to facing deficits, the Pioneers came together in the second half with Mack and Koblish handling the bulk of the scoring; Scott coming up with huge rebounds combined with ball hawking defense; junior Sarah Mascioli hitting clutch jumpers; junior Lindsay Erickson helping out at point guard and seniors Liz Atwood and Sondra Dickey providing key senior leadership.