BENSALEM — The shots were not falling for Cardinal O’Hara sophomore Sydni Scott Tuesday at Bensalem High School.
Scott didn’t get down on herself. Instead of focusing on her individual scoring, she looked to create scoring chances for her teammates.
“When I’m struggling at making shots, I’m like, ‘All right, give me the ball so I can get everybody else to participate,'” Scott said. “Every time I took a shot, it was not going in, it just wasn’t my night. So, I just wanted to try my best to get everybody else the ball.”
By the end of the night, Scott redeemed herself, putting a 1-for-9 field goal performance behind her. She delivered in a big way at the free-throw line, sinking 11 of 12 attempts in the fourth quarter to help O’Hara defeat Spring-Ford, 54-43, in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament.
After the game, Scott had one of her knees wrapped in ice. She has been dealing with the injury off and on this season, which only worsened when she took a hard foul in the fourth quarter.
Scott just laughed it off.
“I will get some rest,” she said.
Scott produced in the fourth quarter, but the Lions had a host of others pitch in, too. Back in the first quarter, the Lions seemed well on their way to a fantastic shooting night when they netted the game’s first 11 points. Siobhan Boylan swished a 3-pointer to make it 11-0 midway through the quarter.
“It started pretty good for us,” Scott said.
After they made five of their first 10 attempts from the floor, the Lions cooled off considerably. Spring-Ford stormed back on the back of sensational junior guard Lucy Olsen, who poured in 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second period.
Looking for a boost before halftime, sophomore Maggie Doogan drilled a 3-pointer before time expired, giving the Lions a 23-19 advantage after two quarters.
“We had to stay calm and collected and not let our frustration get the best of us,” said Doogan, who produced nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals. “Our shots just weren’t falling in the second quarter, so I think that making that shot at the end gave us a little confidence to get going again.”
Olsen was fantastic in the second quarter, scoring four straight points in the third to pull the Rams even, but the Lions made adjustments on her. Olsen was held to four points on 2 of 11 shooting from the field. Everyone had a hand in disrupting Olsen’s game in the second half.
“(Olsen) is so tall. Syd is real guick, but (Olsen) can elevate over her and get her shot off,” O’Hara coach Chrissie Doogan said. “We thought Siobhan had good length and I thought Amaris (Baker) was locked in to make her hit tough shots. We didn’t put her on the foul line a lot, especially in the second half. And then with Maggie’s long arms helping, I felt like Maggie altered a couple shots when she did get into the lane.”
Spring-Ford received contributions from forward Skylar Sullivan (eight points) and guard Emily Tiffan (10 points).
It marked the second straight year that O’Hara eliminated Spring-Ford in the second round of the state tournament.
“I just think we weren’t making shots,” Olsen said. “Our defense was good, but we just couldn’t rebound the ball consistently. We needed that extra energy that I thought we lacked, too. They are a real good team. I feel like we played well as a team and played hard, but we couldn’t get it done.
“It’s sad. We wanted to keep this going for our seniors. We’ll try again next year.”
Nicole Blanche came off the bench to hit a trio of 3-pointers for the Lions, who continue to get stellar production from their back-up players.
“Nicole was our secret, but after tonight she won’t be anymore. She’s been in the gym getting a lot of extra shots in,” Doogan said. “You can tell she’s really comfortable right now. We have to keep finding her minutes.”
Annie Welde added seven points in reserve for the Lions.
“Annie did a good job of driving a little bit more,” Doogan said. “We’re a bit fortunate because we have the two forwards, two true forwards (Doogan and Welde), and a lot of teams don’t have that. We’re lucky enough to have a nice balance, height-wise, on the team this year.”
The District 12 champions advance to the quarterfinal round to play Pennsbury, which defeated Owen J. Roberts in the second half of a doubleheader at Bensalem High School. The Lions were eliminated from the state tournament in the quarterfinal round last year.
“In practice we play like we’re playing games, we scrimmage like it’s a game. We never take a break,” Scott said. “We have each other’s backs, we are playing for each other, and we want to keep winning.”
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