PROSPECT PARK >> Interboro junior forward Marta Walewska had to be wheeled out of Tuesday night’s game against Academy Park.
Walewska was hurting so much after taking a fall in the third quarter of an eventual Bucs loss, she couldn’t walk. Thirty minutes before game time Thursday, there was concern as to whether she would be available for Interboro’s Del Val League game against Penn Wood.
“Marta gets us going,” coach Jody Boon Jr. said. “She wasn’t supposed to play until about 20 minutes before the game. We weren’t sure. It’s been her hip all year and at the AP game, we had to take her out in a wheelchair.”
Walewska is a force inside the paint for the Bucs. Without her, Interboro loses a distinct rebounding advantage.
“She brings a ton of energy to the team,” Boon said, “We needed her tonight.”
It wasn’t quite Willis Reed playing on one good leg in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, but Walewska ignored the pain and performed a vital role in helping Interboro snap Penn Wood’s four-year Del Val unbeaten streak. Walewska scored nine of her 10 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 18 rebounds in the Bucs’ 58-42 victory.
It was Penn Wood’s first league defeat since Feb. 7, 2013.
“This was a game that we really wanted,” she said. “They came in here thinking they could beat us, maybe they didn’t respect us. We wanted to show them that we are coming for the Del Val (title) this year. We think it can be ours.”
Walewska’s layup midway through the fourth period gave the Bucs a 44-42 advantage. Her putback moments earlier tied the score. Interboro finished the game on an 18-0 run.
“We could tell that they were giving up,” Walewska said. “We had all the energy.”
After suffering through a third period that could be described as bowling-shoe ugly, a quarter in which the teams combined for more turnovers (18) than points (15), the Bucs took a five-point lead early in the fourth when Amber Seamen connected on her fourth 3-point shot of the night. Khalia Gordon’s long-range bucket evened the score at 40, and the Patriots took a brief two-point lead on a Carle Matthews layup with five minutes to go. Penn Wood wouldn’t again score the rest of the way.
“We tried hard and never gave up,” said senior guard Gina McNamee, who had a big hand in the outcome. McNamee led the Bucs with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished five assists and made two steals.
“I just kept looking for my open passes to my teammates,” she said. “They held up and my teammates got the baskets that I couldn’t make.”
McNamee, who has been the Bucs’ leading scorer for the better part of three seasons, relies upon Walewska and Seamen, a sharpshooting guard, to get her through a bind.
“Amber is our 3-point shooter and Marta cleans up,” McNamee said. “Marta is very strong for us down low. I’m always looking for them.”
Seamen scored 11 of her 14 points in the first half. She is among the top 3-point shooters in Delco with 32 longballs.
While she averages less than five points per game, Walewska was assertive in the fourth quarter, and her willingness to take over paid dividends for the Bucs. Her 10 points was a season-high.
“We can go over it a million times, but whatever they feel comfortable with they’re going to do,” Boon said. “Marta is very active and when she’s moving around and making layups, she’s very tough to stop, especially in our league. She might be the biggest girl in our league.”
With Walewska leading the way, the Bucs (7-7, 2-1) dominated the glass. They outrebounded the Patriots, 51-24. At one point in the second quarter, the Bucs held a 23-6 advantage. With such a disparity in the rebounding category, Penn Wood struggled to extend possessions. The Patriots shot 24.6 percent (16-for-65) from the floor, while the Bucs shot 42.8 percent (21-for-49).
“When everything’s going good for us, we can be a pretty good team,” Boon said.
Andrews, who entered play leading the county in scoring at 17.4 points per game, was limited to three points on 1-for-7 shooting in the second half. She led all players with 17 points. Gordon chipped in with 12 points for the Patriots (6-7, 2-1).
Madison Diehl had seven points, three rebounds and a steal while Riley Szatny grabbed nine rebounds for the Bucs. Chrissy Carosi made a big basket in the fourth quarter and finished with five points, two rebounds, a steal and an assist off the bench.
In another Del Val League game:
Academy Park 68, Chester 64 >> Mahya Woodton and Shantalay Hightower were too much for the visiting Clippers to overcome. Woodton poured in 29 points and Hightower netted 22 to pace the Knights, who went 22-for-33 from the free-throw line. Riley Street tossed in 12 points for AP (6-9, 3-0).
Shod’Deah Kelly led the Clippers (4-9, 1-3) with 19 points and Monique Colbert posted a double-double with 15 points and 20 rebounds.