Villa Maria falls to undefeated St. Basil

Abington >> Villa Maria Academy threw a scare into undefeated host St. Basil Saturday afternoon, bouncing back from a 9-0 deficit to take a halftime lead, but a strong second half gave the Panthers (17-0) a 53-43 win.
The Hurricanes’ sizable duo of Paige Lauder and Abby Walheim combined for 34 points Saturday, but it was not enough to topple St. Basil on its cozy home court.
“I think we struggled a little bit defensively today, we made some mistakes, some switches, when we shouldn’t have,” said Villa Maria head coach Kathy McCartney. “It was a very physical game. Because it’s such close quarters here, the physicality is escalated a little bit – that makes for a tough game, because we don’t normally play like that. We’re more of a finesse team, St. Basil is more of a Broad Street Bullies team {smiles].”
The Hurricanes (11-3, 6-2) has faced St. Basil in the AACA tournament championship final the past two years, and McCartney is hoping for a repeat of that scenario.
“We’re hoping to play them again in two weeks for the AACA championship,” said the Villa Maria head coach. “If we’re smarter for our experience today, then it’s worth it. We’ll need a little more smarts on defense, and we need a better performance from the free throw line, there’s little things we have to clean up as we get into the playoff time of year. Paige and Abby were active on offense and defense today, they played well, but they need a little help.”
Lauder, who scored 19 points (including eight of the Hurricanes’ 13 fourth-quarter points), said, “There’s definitely a lot we have to take away from this game. We have to start out fast, and we have to play better defense. Next time we play St. Basil, we’ll be smarter, and we’ll know how today’s experience feels, and we’ll make sure we don’t feel like this again.”
St. Basil started the game red-hot, jumping out to a 9-0 lead. The Hurricanes regained their footing, and when Walheim nailed a trey just before the first quarter buzzer, Villa Maria had cut the hosts’ lead to 18-12.
The Panthers held a small lead for much of the second quarter, and held a 24-20 advantage shortly before halftime. But Walheim hit a three from the top of the key, then following a mad scramble for the ball, Villa Maria’s Myla Warley scored underneath just before the halftime buzzer to give the Hurricanes their first lead of the day, 25-24.
Just after halftime, St. Basil’s talented sophomore Denae Carter fought for a loose ball under the basket and scored on a putback to put the Panthers back in the lead, 26-25; then a minute later tallied on an end-to-end drive to make it 28-25.
A few minutes later, an end-to-end drive by Kutztown University-bound senior Casey Remolde gave the hosts a 36-27 lead. But at that point, the St. Basil duo of Carter and Remolde each were charged with three fouls.
The Hurricanes’ Maddie Ryan made a steal and drive to the basket just before the end of the third quarter to cut the hosts’ lead to 36-30, but the hosts maintained a small lead for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
With 3:18 left in the game, and the hosts holding a 44-38 lead, Carter fouled out. Less than a minute later, Lauder’s offensive rebound and putback cut St. Basil’s lead to 44-40.
A 3-for-4 performance at the free throw line by Shannon Remolde gave the Panthers a 48-40 advantage, then Walheim nailed a trey from the right side to make it 48-43 with 36.6 seconds remaining.
Casey Remolde went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the next 18 seconds to ice the game.
St. Basil head coach Terry Mancini said, “Villa Maria is a tough matchup for a lot of teams because of their good size. We’re not bad [for size] until we get in foul trouble and have to go to our bench, because we’re a little bit smaller off the bench. We’re normally not a zone defense team, but I thought a zone today would give Villa Maria trouble on a smaller court, and keep us out of foul trouble, and for the most part it did.
“Basically, our kids rose to the occasion, they knew it was a big game – Villa’s a well-coached team, Kathy does a great job.”

St. Basil 53, Villa Maria 43
Villa Maria 12 13 5 13 – 43
St. Basil 18 6 12 17 – 53
Villa Maria (43): Samar 0 0-0 0, Ryan 3 1-4 7, Warley 1 0-0 2, Walheim 5 2-4 15, Lauder 4 11-14 19, Ford 0 0-0 0, Totals 13 14-22 43.
St. Basil (53): C. Remolde 2 6-6 10, Deal 3 1-1 8, Carter 5 0-4 10, S. Remolde 5 3-4 13, White 1 0-1 2, Grant 1 6-8 8, Scannell 1 0-0 2, Totals 18 16-24 53.
Three point field goals: VMA – Walheim 3; SB – Deal.

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