Central Bucks South advances to District 1-6A Championship with win over Spring-Ford

BENSALEM >> When the final buzzer sounded Wednesday night at Bensalem High School, an weight was instantly lifted off the shoulders of junior guard Alexa Brodie and her teammates.

Brodie, who was part of both of Central Bucks South teams that came up short in the District 1 semifinals each of the past two seasons, admittedly brought with her something extra this time around.

“We came into this one with a chip on our shoulder,” she said. “We knew what it felt like to lose this game. No way we were going to make it three years in a row.”

Brodie scored eight of her 15 points during the fourth quarter in leading the Titans to a thrilling 39-36 win over Spring-Ford in the District 1 Class 6A semifinal round.

Spring-Ford’s Abby Goodrich goes in for a lay up during District One playoff game against C.B. South in Bensalem February 28, 2018. (Gene Walsh — Digital First Media)

With the win, No. 2 C.B. South (24-3) will face top-seeded Souderton (a 47-30 winner over Garnet Valley) on Saturday at Temple University at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, No. 3 Spring-Ford (24-3) drops to the third-place game, where it will host No. 4 Garnet Vallley on Saturday to decide placement in the state bracket.

South’s brand of defense was on display throughout the game, especially early in the game. Featuring an aggressive, ball-swarming attack, the Titans forced the Rams into an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers, eight of which came during the first quarter.

“They’re a good defensive team, we knew that coming in,” said Spring-Ford head coach Mickey McDaniel. “At times, because of their effort, we didn’t attack the basket like we normally do. They got us off our game early. We’ve got to give them all the credit.”

Spring-Ford’s Abby Goodrich and Olivia Olsen battle C.B. South’s Lindsay Scott for possession of a rebound during District One playoff game in Bensalem February 28, 2018. (Gene Walsh — Digital First Media)

Handcuffed by foul troubles in the first half, Spring-Ford’s leading-scorer Abby Goodrich was held to nine points. South also kept close tabs on standout freshman Lucy Olsen, who finished with nine.

Spring-Ford was held without a basket for a run of nearly 16 minutes that spanned from the late stages of the first half until two minutes remained in regulation.

“We knew we had to be aggressive against a team like that,” said C.B. South head coach Beth Mattern of the Rams. “They have post (players), they have guards, they can shoot, they like to drive. We needed to defend them well and limit their opportunities.”

The Titans were also aggressive on the glass, most notably while Spring-Ford’s bigs Sarah Cooper and Goodrich were on the bench with foul trouble. South pulled in 11 offensive rebounds on the night, which helped aid the Titans down the stretch when the late free throws weren’t falling.

Spring-Ford’s Abby Goodrich and C.B. South’s Maddie McShane both reach for a rebound during District One playoff game in Bensalem February 28, 2018. (Gene Walsh — Digital First Media)

After three full quarters that saw neither team go up by more than one possession, things took off in the fourth.

After Goodrich hit the second of two free throw attempts early in the fourth, South went on a three-minute 11-2 run to stake a 36-28 lead with 2:36 left in regulation.

Less than 20 seconds later, Spring-Ford sophomore forward Alyssa Yuan converted an and-one basket moments before freshman Emily Tiffan picked off a pass at mid-court and took it the distance to make it 36-33. After three consecutive trips to the free throw line resulted in just one make for South, Yuan converted another bucket in the paint to bring it to 37-35. Then, after a made free throw from Brodie, Yuan again drove hard in the paint, but was called for a charge with 30 seconds left.

C.B. South’s Alexa Brodie drives to the basket as Spring-Ford’s Lucy Olsen defends during District One playoff game in Bensalem February 28, 2018. (Gene Walsh — Digital First Media)

After Olsen and Brodie each exchanged free throws, Spring-Ford had itself one final chance down 39-36.

With 9.6 seconds left, Olsen got the ball just in front of the mid-court logo. She drove to her left, leaned in to her defender and launched a 3-pointer, hoping to draw contact on the play.

That ringing sound, though, wasn’t a whistle. It was the final buzzer.

“They know you’re going for a three, so they’re gonna defend the 3-point line at th

Gene Walsh — Digital First Media C.B. South’s Haley Meinel goes to the basket during District One playoff game against Spring-Ford in Bensalem February 28, 2018.

at point,” said McDaniel of the situation. “We work on special situations like that one, unfortunately we just couldn’t convert it there.”

Central Bucks South certainly had the opportunities to close out the game in the final stretch. The Titans shot 6-for-14 in the fourth quarter, including two empty trips from Brodie in the final two minutes.

Although concerned, Mattern wasn’t at all ready to dwell on it.

“It’s not very Alexa-like to miss those foul shots, we know that,” she said. “But she’s a player that we know we can count on in that spot. That won’t change.

“You know what, Saturday, she’s gonna knock them down. That’s all there is to it.”

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