Jaguars a win away from title game berth

Thursday’s highly anticipated snowstorm was a bust locally, but widespread school closings threw a wrench into the county’s scholastic sports schedule.
Due to Thursday’s postponements, the Central League regular season will conclude Friday night. As a result, the league semifinal playoff round, which was originally set for Saturday, has been moved to Sunday at Harriton. Marple Newtown will host the boys and girls championship games Tuesday night.
The big game to watch Friday is Conestoga at Garnet Valley. By virtue of Conestoga’s stunning loss to Haverford Tuesday, Garnet Valley wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. If the Jaguars beat Conestoga, they will finish with an undefeated record in the Central League. Therefore, the league playoffs would include only three teams and Garnet Valley would earn an automatic bye to Tuesday’s championship game. Conestoga and Springfield have already locked up the second and third seeds, respectively.
Radnor could sneak in as the fourth seed, but only if Garnet Valley falls to Conestoga.

Lauren Carrafa has her sights set on becoming a physical therapist someday. The Chichester senior guard, who has been the Eagles’ top scorer in each of the last two seasons, will continue her basketball career and education at Immaculata.
Carrafa spends some of her free time volunteering at her brother Michael’s school, CADES in Swarthmore, which is a non-profit organization that provides assistance in improving the lives of children with physical limitations.
“I volunteer and help out as much as I can out there. I really like it,” Carrafa said after a game with Sun Valley last month.
Carrafa wants to pursue a career helping children with their disabilities.
“I love seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces,” she said. “And seeing a smile on my brother’s face always brightens my day.”
Alyssa Long has been a pleasant addition to the Springfield roster.
The freshman guard is a high-energy player who has excelled primarily with her on-the-ball defense, and she has seen her scoring average rise in recent games.
With senior guard Maggie O’Connell out four games due to injury, Long helped pick up the scoring slack for the Central League and District 1 5A playoff-bound Cougars (18-3). Long netted a career-high 12 points in a win over Marple Newtown Jan. 24, and earned game MVP honors with nine points in a loss to Archbishop Carroll at the Blue Chip Super Showcase Jan. 29.
The Cougars have enjoyed an exceptional season and Long has been a big contributor. It also helps that Long played elementary school ball with current teammates and sophomore starters Belle Mastropietro and Jordan D’Ambrosio at St. Francis of Assisi.
“I love basketball, I love the team. Everyone has been so nice in welcoming me on the team and it’s been a really fun year,” Long said following the game against Carroll. “I’ve always loved being a point guard. It’s obviously an adjustment going from eighth grade to varsity. I’ve played with (Mastropietro and D’Ambrosio) since I was in first and second grade, so it’s been great playing with them up here.”
While Long is on track to have a tremendous four-year basketball career, her top sport is lacrosse. She gave a verbal commitment to North Carolina, and figures to be one of the top freshman lax players in the area this spring.
DISTRICT 1 RANKINGS >> The playoff seeding meeting is scheduled for Sunday, 10 a.m., at Penncrest. Here’s where several of Delco’s teams stand as of Thursday.
In Class 6A, Garnet Valley (19-2) is ranked sixth, one spot behind Conestoga (18-3). You can expect the Jaguars to leapfrog Conestoga with a win Friday. North Penn (19-2) is the No. 1 seed.
GV and Conestoga could meet for a third time next week for the Central League title. It’s worth noting that whatever happens in league postseason tournaments has no bearing on district seedings.
Twenty-four teams qualify for the 6A playoffs.
In Class 5A, where 16 teams qualify, there are several Delco teams in the mix for playoff berths. Leading the way is Springfield (18-3) at No. 1. Radnor (16-5) has won five straight and is No. 4, while Penn Wood (10-9) sits in ninth place. Academy Park (10-11) is 12th and Interboro (11-10) is 15th. Penncrest (8-12, 17th) and Marple Newtown (10-11, 18th) will need some help to make the postseason.
In Class 2A, Sacred Heart (13-9) has a stranglehold on the top seed. The District 1/12 Class A sub-regional will include The Christian Academy (17-4), which is enjoying a tremendous first season as members of the Bicentennial League. TCA was No. 2 in the rankings, behind District 12’s Sankofa Freedom (17-3)
The Catholic League playoffs begin Tuesday, Feb. 14. Defending champion Archbishop Wood is the No. 1 seed following a 12-0 march through the regular season.
Seventh-seeded Bonner & Prendergast (13-9) hosts No. 10 Bishop McDevitt in first-round action next Tuesday. No. 3 Cardinal O’Hara (17-5) and fourth-seeded Archbishop Carroll (16-6) earned first-round byes.
The quarterfinals are slated for Thursday, Feb. 16, at the sites of the highest seeds. The semifinal round takes place Thursday, Feb. 23, at Philadelphia University, and the championship game is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 at the Palestra.
The Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament bracket is set, with dates and times still to be determined.
No. 2 Episcopal Academy, which is closing in on a share of the Inter-Ac League title with Germantown Academy, has a first-round bye. The Churchwomen (13-8) will play the winner of No. 7 Notre Dame (13-10) and 10th-seeded Westtown School. No. 11 Agnes Irwin plays sixth-seeded Hill School in a first-round game.
Sun Valley’s Kate Lannon will end her career as the second-leading scorer in team history. With 1,500 points on the nose with one game to go, Lannon ranks 15th on the county’s all-time scoring list.
To contact Matt Smith, email Follow him on Twitter @DTMattSmith.

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