McKee’s contributions spark Garnet Valley’s win over Conestoga

CONCORD >> Madi McKee was in the starting lineup Wednesday night for Garnet Valley’s first District 1 Class 6A playoff game.

The junior forward has made a handful of starts this season, and seems to answer the call every time. When she’s not among the starting five, McKee is a valuable piece off the bench for coach Joe Woods.

“One of our games this year against C.B. West, I had to do the same thing, to defend against (the other team’s big girl) and come in and start,” McKee said. “I just tried to have the same mindset tonight. I came out feeling pretty strong.”

McKee scored 10 points on 5 of 11 shooting and played solid defense against Conestoga’s best player, senior center and Saint Joseph’s signee Katie Mayock. McKee’s contributions helped the No. 4 Jaguars earn a 43-33 decision over the 13th-seeded Pioneers.

With the victory, the Jaguars — believe it or not — have clinched a berth in next month’s PIAA Class 6A tournament. The Jags, who had a first-round bye, needed only one win to punch their ticket to the state tournament. Eleven teams from District 1 qualify for states.

Next up for the Jags is a date Saturday night with No. 5 Abington, a 59-48 winner over 12th-seeded Central Bucks East.

Garnet Valley’s Jillian Nagy drives to the hoop during the second quarter of the Jaguars’ 43-33 win over Conestoga.

“This was a big game for Garnet Valley,” said McKee, a La Salle lacrosse commit. “Especially with our team, we always have girls coming in off the bench. So we all have a lot of confidence in each other and I feel like, since a lot of us have been playing together for such a long time, a lot of us work well together.”

That was evident in GV’s first game since its disappointing loss to Springfield in the Central League playoff final, which ended a streak of four championship campaigns. The Jags (21-3) had eight days to stew over the loss, but a good week of practice remedied their woes and they played Wednesday with a renewed sense of urgency against the Pioneers, a team that always gives them fits.

“We thought the whole problem was, we needed to have more energy on the court and on the bench,” junior forward Brianne Borcky said. “So, all of us were getting really hyped before the game and we wanted to bring the energy. That was the main focus.”

McKee buoyed the Jags with six points in the opening half, offsetting the lack of scoring production from junior forward and 1,000-point scorer Emily McAteer and Borcky, who were limited to five points in the first two quarters. The Pioneers doubled them both whenever they touched the ball.

Borcky eventually allowed her talent and athleticism to take over in the third quarter when she scored six of her team-high 11 points. McAteer was

MIKEY REEVES – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA Garnet Valley’s Brianne Borcky (42) scored posted team highs in points (11), rebounds (nine) and assists (four).

plagued by foul trouble, and scored only six points. McAteer, though, made up for it with tremendous defense (eight steals) and setting her teammates up (four assists) for easy baskets. Borcky, meanwhile, added a game-high nine rebounds to go with four assists and four blocked shots.

Garnet Valley proved that it can win when its top two players aren’t lighting up the scoreboard.

“Madi scored a lot and did really well on defense tonight,” Borcky said. “During the season, we have girls that do the same thing — step up. But especially in these games, in the playoffs, it’s really important, especially when I’m being face-guarded.”

Garnet Valley ended a first half in which the teams combined for 21 turnovers with six straight points. The Jags led by eight one minute into the third quarter, but the Pioneers scored seven straight to cut their deficit to one. That’s as close as they would come. Nicole Barnes (eight points) drilled a 3-pointer to extend GV’s advantage to 11 points midway through the fourth quarter. GV then shot 5-for-9 at the free-throw line down the stretch.

Mayock paced Conestoga with 14 points, including 8-for-8 at the charity stripe. She had eight blocked shots and seven rebounds. The Pioneers will play Central Bucks East in a playback game Saturday.

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