BETHLEHEM >> Even when St. Basil Academy was able to navigate its way through a treacherous Dunmore defense, the Panthers had an even bigger obstacle waiting for them at the hoop.
“They match up with their quickness and then they have a 6-foot-2 rim protector that kind of threw us off our game,” St. Basil coach Terry Mancini said of Bucks center Victoria Toomey, who helped keep Basil scoreless for the first six and a half minutes Tuesday. “They’re a very good team. Our girls hung in there and gave it everything they had.”
In a battle of unbeatens, it was Dunmore’s defense that provided the path to the state quarterfinals, controlling things throughout and leading the way to a 47-37 victory in the second round of the PIAA-3A Tournament.
Dunmore advances to face either Neumann-Goretti or Warrior Run Friday while a tremendous run for the Panthers (26-1) came to an end with their only loss of the season.
“I think we struggled against their zone defense,” said Basil’s Casey Remolde, who led the Panthers with 14 points, tied for the game high. “We kinda came out and held the ball too much and weren’t being aggressive enough offensively.
“We also gave up a lot of easy layups off of fouls. We were fouling underneath a lot, which seemed to give us a lot of trouble in the first half.”
Toomey was a perfect 8-for-8 from the line in the first quarter and went on to score 12 points in the contest. Forward Gianna Delfino and Guard Moriah Murray each scored 14 for the Bucks (26-0).
“The whole entire game, I was just saying get another stop, try and make some magic down at the other end of the court,” Casey Remolde said. “Today, shots weren’t falling and things weren’t going our way. For a minute there, we were starting to pick up the pace and start a run but it just wasn’t enough.”
Basil got to within 31-26 of Dunmore in the fourth quarter but a steal and then a three by Murray boosted the Buck lead to eight with five minutes to play. Soon after, Delfino found Murray cutting to the hoop, leading to a three-point play and a 37-26 lead.
A three by Casey Remolde cut the margin down to 41-31 but Dunmore would not let the lead diminish any further. Shannon Remolde added eight points for the Panthers and Elizabeth Deal had seven.
“We just couldn’t get that steal or basket we needed, but you credit (Dunmore’s) defense,” Mancini said.
Dunmore controlled the first half.
The Bucks pounded the ball inside to Toomey, and in turn she was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Dunmore was able to snap its passes and find an open Murray on the perimeter, resulting in an open three that spiked the Bucks’ lead to 9-0. Alexis Chapman scored on a fast break, helping the Bucks to a 13-7 edge at the end of the first quarter.
Dunmore’s lead hit double digits in the second, with Murray and Lisa Tallo hitting from the outside and Toomey continuing to be a big presence underneath.
Casey Remolde got going a bit for Basil, scoring eight points in the opening half, but Dunmore’s defense allowed few openings and the Bucks went into the break up 26-17.
Dunmore led by six heading into the fourth and didn’t let up.
“It’s tough that it ended the way it did,” said Casey Remolde, who is headed to Kutztown next year. “But we definitely had a lot of accomplishments. We won our league three years in a row and our district title three years in a row so I couldn’t be more proud of the girls I’ve been able to play with.
“Going 27-1 wasn’t an easy thing to do. I’m still proud of the way we played and we gave it our all. So at the end of the day, I love our team and I’m happy with our performance.”
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