Methacton overcomes turnovers, Vikings with electric fourth; moves to PAC Final

GRATERFORD >> Only a select few heard what was said inside the Methacton huddle between the third and fourth quarters on Saturday evening at Perkiomen Valley.

As for the rest? They witnessed the final result.

A reenergized Methacton team made up for its early mistakes, utilizing an 11-point run at the start of the quarter to storm back and eventually claim a 38-28 win over Upper Merion during the semifinal round of the Pioneer Athletic Conference playoffs.

“It took a lot longer than we’re used to for us to click on and get going. That’s for sure,” Warriors head coach Craig Kaminski said afterward. “We didn’t do or say anything differently than we had all game long (before the fourth quarter). We just finally got it going.”

Methacton’s Ryan DeOrio (3) goes up for a shot in the paint during the second half of the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinals Saturday. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

The win sends No. 3 Methacton (11-2 PAC, 18-5 overall) to next Wednesday’s PAC Championship where they’ll take on top-seeded Boyertown — a 57-51 overtime winner over Spring-Ford. It will be the Warriors’ first trip to the title bout since falling to Spring-Ford three consecutive times from 2012-2014.

No. 2 seeded Upper Merion (8-5 PAC, 14-9 overall) claimed its first lead at 18-17 midway through the third quarter and eventually built it to a 21-20 advantage by the end of the period. The Eagles had Methacton’s leading-scorer Ryan DeOrio contained at that point — holding her scoreless and frustrated — while the Warriors offense couldn’t find any sort of rhythm.

Methacton shot an ice-cold 2-for-14 from beyond the 3-point line through the opening three frames. That after opening the game with six of their first seven shot attempts coming from beyond the arc.

“We weren’t ourselves those first three quarters,” DeOrio said afterward. “I don’t know what it was. We weren’t creating any good looks and it showed.

“We finally caught a spark in the fourth quarter.”

Upper Merion’s Andrea Davis turns to face the basket while the Methacton defense swarms in. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

DeOrio was the spark. Teammate Nicole Cooper was the flame.

Shortly after Methacton regained the lead at 22-21, DeOrio found a cutting Cooper on consecutive possessions where she would convert both, including an and-one bucket. Cooper scored seven of her game-high 12 points in the quarter while DeOrio scored all six of hers during the final frame.

Sydney Thompson matched Cooper with 12 points while Jackie Cerchio battled in the paint for five.

“We showed a lot of rust at times,” said Kaminski, quick to point out that the Warriors last game was exactly a week prior, “and we’re up against a team we hadn’t faced all season. That certainly ups the challenge.”

Upper Merion head coach Leah Shumoski shared similar sentiments after earning their first PAC playoff berth in school history since joining the conference this season.

“Our girls aren’t that used to these postseason runs,” she said. “We had 10 straight days to try and keep them engaged. It’s tough to simulate that game speed, especially against a team like Methacton.”

The Vikings seemed to have the game speed down pat, at least until the fourth quarter struck.

“We won three quarters,” Shumoski said. “Unfortunately our turnovers caught up with us and ran out of steam. Quite frankly I think we sort of surprised ourselves.”

Upper Merion forced Methacton to 23 turnovers but turned around and committed 37 themselves. The Vikings shot just 2-for-11 from beyond the 3-point arc and 6-for-11 from the free-throw line.

Junior forward Jordan Wilson led the way with 12 points while Andrea Davis and Madalyn Harvey had five apiece.

Now as they begin to look ahead to next Wednesday’s PAC title game, Kaminski knows how big the challenge will be.

“It’s going to be a really tough game, no matter who we face,” he said. “We’re glad to be there, we’re excited. We’re in it to win it.”


Ryan DeOrio22206
Nicole Cooper445012
Jenna Cooper00200
Sydney Tornetta01201
Jackie Cerchio13605
Olivia Pennypacker00000
Jillian Zerbe10002
Sydney Thompson346212
Amya Anthoney11203
Kelly Burns00000
Megan Gebhart10013
Andrea Davis13405
Jessica Michael00000
Yasmin Gant00000
Jordan Wilson602012
Maddie Harvey12315
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