Armstrong layup sends crushing blow to Council Rock North girls basketball (VIDEOS)

BOYERTOWN – After missing a 3-point shooting attempt that would have given her team the lead in the waning seconds of the District 1-6A consolation matchup at Boyertown, Council Rock North junior Becca Margolis did everything she could to get the ball back.

Amazingly, the Lady Indians’ point guard sprawled out on the floor and did just that, taking the ball away from Bears standout Abby Kapp and dishing it off to CR North sophomore Dana Bandurick, whose ensuing layup tied the score at 38-all.

“I just knew I had to make up for my miss and I wanted to make an effort to make up for my mistake and try to help the team,” said Margolis. “I’m doing it all for the team; I want us to get as many chances as we can.

“I did everything that I could to try and get there.”

With six ticks remaining in regulation, a duel the visiting Indians fought hard to tie at 29-all going into the fourth period, seemed destined for overtime. Yet somehow, No. 2 seed Boyertown (23-4) found a way to come up with a winning basket before the clock struck zero.

“I don’t know how they got that. I wasn’t paying attention. I should have been but I wasn’t,” said junior center Mackenzie Tinner. “Miscommunication down low, I think, was really what it was. We really didn’t talk that well on that last play.”

It took just three seconds for the Bears to knock down the winning basket, a layup by senior Katie Armstrong that sends Boyertown to a D-1 consolation battle for fifth place Friday, March 3 at top-seeded North Penn. Eleventh-seeded Rock North (17-9) drops down to a duel for seventh place Friday at No. 4 Garnet Valley. Both the Bears and the Indians are headed to the PIAA girls basketball tournament that starts Friday, March 10.

After the game, Tinner put the loss in perspective for North, which advanced to states with district playoff wins over No. 22 Cheltenham and No. 6 Conestoga.

“Coach said we played hard; they’re a good team and we just have to use this to better ourselves,” said Mackenzie.

“It’s a tough loss for us. But we’ll use this in states and in our next game on Friday.”

Trailing 23-19 at the half, the Rock defenders limited Boyertown in the third period to a single bucket by Armstrong, a one-hander that put the Bears on top 26-25 with less than three minutes to go in the quarter.

Just moments before, Margolis teamed up with senior Emily Mackin on a give-and-go to can her second 3-pointer in the game. This one gave the Indians their first lead in the playoff at 25-24.

That basket by Armstrong, a free throw by junior Kylie Webb and two more by senior Alli Marcus put Boyertown back on top at 29-25 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.

Again, the Rock ladies fought back. First, Margolis hit a putback basket off a feed from sophomore Camryn Polinsky who fought hard for the rebound off the initial miss. Working off an ensuing Bears turnover, Polinsky took the next shot herself, a soft jumper that found nothing but net and tied the game at 29-all with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.

With both teams playing tough defense, the fourth quarter became a foul-shooting contest with both teams scoring seven points apiece from the stripe.

With a minute remaining, Kapp hit her only field goal in the final frame, a layup that put Boyertown up 38-36 with a minute remaining in regulation. Then came the game-tying basket by Bandurick and of course, the heartbreaker by Armstrong.

“There’s nothing you can really do about that,” said Margolis. “We just need to work on our defense more and communicate better.”

Defensively, the Indians held Kapp – the Bears’ all-time leading scorer – to 13 points. The 6-foot forward scored that many in the fourth quarter of a 61-39 Boyertown win over Pioneer Athletic Conference (PAC) rival Perkiomen Valley in a January matchup held on the Vikings’ home court. A 3-pointer – one of three treys she hit in the fourth quarter – put her past 2013 graduate Kaitlyn Eisenhard.

“Defense was our main objective,” said Tinner. “We had to stop Kapp; she’s such  a big threat and we just tried to shut her down.

“I think we did a good job with that.”

While CR North did a good job on the offensive glass, oftentimes coming down with the rebound, the Indians didn’t necessarily make their opponent pay on those second and third chances.

What’s more, the shots that seemed to fall in the third period when the Rock caught up to the home team, didn’t really fall in the final frame. Indeed, the Indians shot 1-for-11 in the fourth quarter after canning four of 11 shots in the third period.

“We need to capitalize more on our layups, going to the basket, making contact and trying to get more fouls out of them,” said Margolis. “Each team had 10 fouls at the end and we really need to capitalize on that.”

“We did have a lot of offensive rebounds but we didn’t finish off of them,” added Tinner. “We missed a lot of shots.”

Still, it was hard to find fault with North’s effort. Bandurick got knocked to the ground after coming down with a defensive rebound in the third quarter and in the final frame, Polinsky got knocked to the floor going after ball that careened off the offensive glass.

For Boyertown, the win represented a measure of revenge as the last time these two teams met in the opening round of the 2016 District 1-4A tournament, the Rock stunned the Bears, 40-27.

TOP PHOTOCouncil Rock North junior Kaelin Mealy (43) is guarded by Boyertown senior Katie Armstrong, left, in District 1 Class 6A consolation playoff won by the Bears Wednesday, March 1 at BASH. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

Boyertown 40, Council Rock North 38

(March 1 at Boyertown)

CR North              9 10 10 9 – 38

Boyertown         12 11 6 11 – 40

COUNCIL ROCK NORTH (17-9) — Becca Margolis 4 4-5 14, Megan Haggerty 1 0-0 3, Dana Bandurick 4 5-7 13, Mackenzie Tinner 1 4-5 6, Camryn Polinsky 1 0-0 2, Kaelin Mealey 0 0-2 0; TOTALS — 11 13-19 38.

BOYERTOWN (23-4) — Alli Marcus 0 11-14 11, Tori Boalton 1 0-0 2, Abby Kapp 3 7-10 13, Katie Armstrong 3 0-1 6, Kylie Webb 1 1-2 4, Jennifer O’Connor 1 1-2 4; TOTALS — 9 20-29 40.

3-POINT GOALS: CRN — Margolis 2, Haggerty; B — Webb, O’Connor.

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