St. Basil goes on defensive to knock off Pine Grove in District 1/11-3A semis

SPRINGFIELD >> There’s several unwritten rules in basketball, but near the top of the list is the adage that you come out strong after halftime, and if you have a lead, you add to it.

And if you’re down, you bust it to get back in the game.

St. Basil’s undefeated Panthers trailed Pine Grove at the half in Tuesday night’s District 1/11-3A playoff tilt at La Salle College High School.

But the Panthers didn’t panic, didn’t point fingers and didn’t drop their heads.

Instead, they turned to their best friend – defense – to turn the game around and fashion a 47-27 win over the Cardinals in a contest that didn’t look like it would be a blowout win at the half.

“We didn’t do anything drastic at halftime,” said Panthers head coach Terry Mancini after St. Basil’s waltzed to the victory. “We just stepped it up defensively .

“All year our defensive play has been outstanding, so we went back to doing what we’ve done well all year.”

It wasn’t at all rosy for the Panthers in the first half, as Rachel Edge and Jennifer Kaufman split 12 points to help the Cardinals take a 14-9 lead after one quarter.

It got a little better for the Panthers in the second quarter as Natalie Kucowski had five points and Basil’s got within 20-18 by halftime.

But the third quarter ultimately decided the game.

The Panthers opened the quarter with an 11-0 run, and didn’t bother to look back.

“We just decided to play better defense in the second half,” said Juliana Gura, who was in the middle of the comeback. “Our defense is something we’ve depended on all year.”

Sure enough, the Panthers outscored the Cardinals, 18-1, in the third quarter. And by period’s end, the issue was no longer in doubt.

By game’s end the Cardinals had been limited to just one field goal in the entire second half.

“In that first half they sped us up a little and we missed some shots we shouldn’t have missed,” Mancini said. “But we settled down in the second half, and our defense turned the game around.”

The 18-1 quarter propelled the Panthers into a Friday meeting with New Hope at a neutral site.

“We’ll prepare for whoever we’re playing over the next couple of days,” Gura said. “But right now we just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing.”

St. Basil 47, Pine Grove 27
Pine Grove 14 6 1 6 – 27
St. Basil’s 9 9 18 11 – 47
Pine Grove: Cayleen Conrad 1 1-2 3; Rachel Edge 3 1-2 7; Faith Shiffer 1 1-2 4; Jennifer Kaufman 1 6-6 8; Stephanie Boyer 1 0-0 2; Faith Sleva 1 0-0 2; Brianna Betz 0 1-2 1; Hunter Flick 0 0-0 0; Rachel Flew 0 0-0 0. Totals- 8 10-14 27.
St. Basil: Juliana Gura 4 2-2 10; Cheryl Renolde 0 0-0 0; Casey Renolde 5 1-3 11; Natalie Kucowski 8 0-0 18; Maddie Riehman 0 0-0 0; Kelly Grant 2 0-0 6; Elizabeth Deal 0 0-0 0; Katie Dougherty 1 0-0 2; Lauren Ems 0 0-0 0; Mariah Roemhild 0 0-0 0; Cate McCreavy 0 0-0.. Totals 20 3-5 47.
3-pointers: Shiffer; Grant 2; Kucowski 2.

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