Lannon, Carrafa put friendly face on heated Sun Valley-Chi rivalry

UPPER CHICHESTER >> You might think that after a physical game that saw Chichester’s Lauren Carrafa and Sun Valley’s Kate Lannon slam into and tumble over one another on several occasions, the last thing they would want is to take pictures together in the hallway outside the gymnasium.

Things got testy at times during Sun Valley’s 46-27 nonleague victory, but there was no malice. The Sun Valley-Chichester rivalry expands beyond the gridiron on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a big deal no matter the sport.

“It gets really rowdy and it’s exciting to play against a big rival,” said Sun Valley junior guard Maddie Michael, who had nine points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. “We always want to do our best to win.”

Carrafa wore a badge of honor which signified the battle she had been through over the course of 32 minutes. The Eagles’ leading scorer had a bag of ice wrapped around her arm as she talked to Lannon after the game.

“They’re our rivals and I know they key on me every time we play them,” said Carrafa, a senior guard who will continue her basketball career at Immaculata. “I take that as a compliment and I play my hardest, as much as I can.”

Carrafa paced the Eagles with 16 points, including five 3-point field goals. She was diving every which way for loose balls, sacrificing her limbs for the greater good. She even ran face-first into the wall padding along the baseline.

“It’s what I try to do every time that I play,” she said.

Afterward, Carrafa and Lannon, Sun Valley’s 1,000-point scorer who will play at Cabrini next season, chatted and shared a few laughs. What happens in a Chichester-Sun Valley game, stays there, apparently. There was no ill-will between the two combatants.

More like friends.

“We’ve known each other since grade school and have played against each other since those days,” Carrafa said. “We go back to CYO. … We’re all rivals, but some of us develop relationships.”

It was Lannon and the Vanguards (5-10) who gained the upperhand Friday. Lannon, per usual, did a little bit of everything in leading her squad to the win. She posted a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds, along with three blocks, two steals and two assists.

And, like Carrafa, Lannon was the recipient of a few hard fouls.

“You expect it’s going to be a hard-fought game all the time against Chichester,” Lannon said. “Both teams want the win and we’re going to leave it all out there on the court. At the end of day, it’s just basketball. You have to play your hardest and try to get the win. It’s my last time ever playing Chi, and that’s so sad when I think about it.”

Lannon and Abby Seasock spurred a 12-0 run in the second quarter as the Vanguards took a 27-8 lead into the final minute of the period. Seasock had two 3-pointers and Lannon registered seven points, five rebounds and a steal in the quarter.

It’s been a difficult season for the Vanguards, but they have seen development from players such as Michael and Seasock.

“I’m looking for the open shot more and setting my feet so that once the ball comes to me, I’ll be ready to shoot,” said Michael, who was 4-for-7 from the floor.

Erica Brant had seven points, four rebounds and blocked a shot for Chichester (2-8).

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