Sorokanych caps emotional night, Garnet Valley remains perfect

CONCORD >> Prior to Friday night’s game, Maddy Sorokanych presented her grandmother with a bouquet of flowers at center court.

Teammates Brianne Borcky and Morgan Falcone offered the same gesture to their mothers. All three women are breast cancer survivors.

Garnet Valley hosted a “pink out” in support of Unite for HER and breast cancer awareness. Coach Joe Woods and his staff donned pink t-shirts on the sideline.

The pre-game ceremony honoring her grandma, Sandra, was an emotional experience for Sorokanych.

“It was awesome,” she said. “She’s survived so much. It was a great game and I definitely played for her tonight.”

Sorokanych made two clutch free throws in the final seconds to give Garnet Valley a three-point edge over Conestoga. The Jaguars held on for a 49-46 victory to finish unbeaten in the Central League while also earning a bye to the league championship game Tuesday night at Marple Newtown.

Sorkanynch got a defensive rebound off a pair of free-throw misses by Emma Powell and was fouled immediately. She strolled to the other end of the floor and calmly swished two freebies.

No big deal, right?

“I was really nervous, but all my teammates just said to take a deep breath. That’s all I tried to do,” said Sorokanych, who had six points and a game-high nine rebounds. “I wanted it to seem like it was practice.”

Conestoga made a last-ditch effort to tie the game and force overtime. A 3-point attempt by Sarah Mascoli fell off the mark and rebounded by Emily McAteer, who dribbled up the floor and ran out the clock.

Garnet Valley wanted nothing more but to end the regular season with a perfect mark against Central League foes. The Jags (20-2 overall, 16-0 league), who are vying for their fourth straight league title, will play the winner of Springfield-Conestoga. That semifinal takes place 1 p.m. Sunday at Harriton.

“In the classroom, at halftime, we were yelling, basically, ‘We can get this, come on!,’” sophomore forward Brianne Borcky said. “At halftime, we were down by (four) points … and we were like, OK, we have to get it together. It was really intense and a closer game than it should have been.”

Borcky is right — Conestoga was given extra life and a chance to take the lead with two free throws with 26.7 seconds to play after Garnet Valley opened the door for a dramatic ending. Leading by five points, and content to simply hold onto the ball and force the Pioneers to foul, Borcky was whistled for her fifth personal foul as she was attempting to elude the defense.

“I didn’t think it was a foul,” Borcky said, laughing.

A subsequent technical foul called on point guard Nicole Barnes put Conestoga big Katie Mayock (19 points, including 11-for-12 at the free-throw line) at the foul line. After a steal, Mayock was fouled and made two more free throws to trim the Garnet Valley lead to one point.


“It was a crazy ending,” said McAteer, who led all players with 24 points.

The Jaguars trailed by as many as four points — 40-36 — in the fourth quarter before McAteer put the team on her shoulders while Borcky (10 points, three assists, two steals) and senior Sydney Fail dealt with foul trouble. McAteer drilled a 3-pointer and Barnes made a layup — off an assist by McAteer — to put Garnet Valley ahead to stay, 41-40. McAteer then scored the Jaguars’ next five points to make it a 47-42 game.

“We just had to keep our heads up,” said McAteer, who scored 17 points in the second half. “We had to work together to do what we needed to do to win. We had to really get back on it as a team, get the lead back. I think we were focusing on layups more in the second half but the refs were kind of not on our side. In the fourth quarter we really had to fight.”

NOTES >> Garnet Valley coach Joe Wood was honored before the game for recently earning his 200th victory. “I had no idea,” Woods said of the celebration … The Garnet Valley state championship volleyball team received similar treatment with a glowing halftime presentation in its honor.


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