Faith’s big moment helps Garnet Valley claim fourth straight Central League title

NEWTOWN SQUARE >> Camryn Faith’s reaction after she was fouled in the process of making a layup late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Central League championship game said it all.

She was pumped.

Faith rebounded a miss and dribbled the ball the length of the court. This was her moment. There was no way she would pass it up.

Faith had given the Jaguars a five-point lead over Conestoga with one minute, 12 seconds to go. The game wasn’t over, but Faith’s clutch play felt like a dagger.

Sydney Fail (32) and Nicole Barnes help Camryn Faith back to her feet after Faith’s big layup late in the fourth quarter of Garnet Valley’s eventual 41-36 victory over Conestoga for the Central League championship Tuesday at Marple Newtown.

“I knew that we needed this win,” said Faith, shrugging her shoulders and playing things coy. “I had to do my best to help. I wanted to give it my all.”

Faith is an excellent lacrosse player who was a key member of the Jaguars’ last two runs to the PIAA championship game. Tuesday night, she came off the bench to ensure the Garnet Valley basketball team’s fourth consecutive Central League crown.

Faith scored eight points and sophomore forward Emily McAteer led all players with 17 as Garnet Valley claimed a 41-36 victory over Conestoga. GV defeated the Pioneers for the second time in four days and the third time this season. The Jaguars (21-2) are 7-0 against the Pioneers (20-4) since the start of last season.

All the  Jags needed was a little Faith.

“Cam was a very big part of it today,” McAteer said. “She just gave us the energy to get it going. That layup she made was one big step toward us winning today.”

Junior center Katie Mayock made her first field goal on a putback with less than a minute to go to trim Conestoga’s deficit back to three points. On the ensuing GV possession, McAteer was fouled and made two free throws to extend GV’s advantage back to five.

Earlier in the period, before Faith’s heroics, McAteer drove the lane for two points to make it a 37-34 game just moments after Julia Wess swished a 3-pointer to get Conestoga within one.

Following a quiet first half, McAteer netted eight points in the fourth quarter and totaled 13 in the second half.

“We had to pass around a lot more on offense. I was face-guarded a lot, so we had to work in more screens, especially in the second half,” McAteer said. “We started to get more looks in the second half as we started to screen more.”

Sydney Fail is one of two seniors, along with Katherine Eckhoff, who started the game. To Fail, winning the Central League never gets old.

“I don’t know what it’s like to not cut down this net,” said Fail, referring to the ceremonial net-cutting after the game. “It’s crazy to think it’s been four years. It’s pretty incredible.”

Fail was the Jags’ top scorer in the first half with eight points. Needless to say, it was an ugly first half as the teams combined to shoot 19.5 percent (9-for-46) with 20 turnovers. GV battled back from an early 9-3 deficit with a 13-0 run that extended into the second quarter.

“We know that it is hard to beat a team three times,” said Nicole Barnes, the Jags’ junior point guard, who came up with four points and a game-high five steals. “We knew they were going to come out strong, so we had to match that. It was back-and-forth and that’s what we expected. We really needed to have great teamwork.”

Garnet Valley coach Joe Woods cuts down the net after his Jaguars defeated Conestoga for their fourth straight Central League title.

Mayock (10 points, 8-for-8 at the foul line) converted a pair of free throws early in the fourth quarter to put the Pioneers ahead for the only time in the second half. Conestoga struggled mightily at the free-throw line, particularly in the first half (10 for 20). Their luck evened out some in the second half, and overall, they shot 15-for-26 at the charity stripe. Make a few more freebies and it’s a whole different game.

Emma Powell paced Conestoga with 12 points.

It’s worth noting that Brianne Borcky, the Jags’ second-leading scorer, was held to zero points on 0-for-12 shooting. However, the sophomore forward made an impact in other ways (11 rebounds, two assists, one block).

“Especially with our game Friday night against them (49-46 Garnet Valley win), knowing that it was a three-point difference, I really didn’t expect anything less against them tonight. It was going to be another close game,” said Fail, who finished with eight points. “I’m happy to see us on top. I think it’s seven times in a row that we’ve beaten ’Stoga, and it’s always been an amazing game.”

Garnet Valley has ruled the Central League for four straight years. It has lost only one league game since falling to Radnor in the 2013 Central League

Garnet Valley’s Emily McAteer (20) attempts a shot over Conestoga’s Katie Mayock. McAteer scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Jaguars to a 41-36 win.

title game.

“It’s all about the players and my staff. It’s a lot of hard work,” Garnet Valley head coach Joe Woods said. “Conestoga is a very good team. To beat them four times last year and three times now this year, and every one of them could have been a loss for us … I’m just very proud of our players. To win four consecutive Central League championships, it’s a great achievement for the girls and the program.”

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