Gwynedd Mercy snaps St. Basil’s AACA win streak in season opener

ABINGTON >> Gwynedd Mercy Academy snapped Saint Basil Academy’s 42-game Athletic Association of Catholic Academies win streak Monday evening with a 38-34 win at Saint Basil Academy.

It was the Monarchs first win over the Panthers since the 2015-16 season, snapping an 11-game head-to-head drought.

Kaylie Griffin led GMA to victory both on the stat sheet and on the court. The senior scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds while keeping the Monarchs composed down the stretch as Saint Basil tried to mount a comeback.

“Calming ourselves down and we knew it was going to come down to free throws,” Griffin, who scored 16 points in the second half and went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch, said. “I knew I could make it, I just had to have confidence in myself and in my teammates that they’re not going to foul and they’re going to keep the defense up. I think my composure spread to my teammates and they look up to me. They see I’m calm and I think that helps and I think that spreads to the team.”

The Monarchs (1-0) led, 31-23 after three quarters and it took nearly three minutes for either side to score in the fourth. Basil senior Denae Carter hit four free throws and found Hannah Hunter for a layup to cut the deficit to two, 31-29, with 4:06 to go.

Griffin scored after a nice pass from Hannah Griffin before going 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to make it a 34-29 game with less than two minutes to play.

Sammie White got the Panthers (0-1) within one – hitting a three-pointer and going 1-for-2 from the charity stripe – with 68 seconds on the clock.

That’s as close as Kaylie Griffin would allow it to get. She went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 22 seconds and the Monarchs didn’t allow the Panthers to get any clean looks from the three-point line to close out the victory, 38-34.

“Where I give us some credit, especially for Kaylie being a senior and four-year starter, is the composure to be able to just hold the ball,” GMA coach Tom Lonergan said. “We were just going to hold the ball the last two minutes and hope the clock ran out and go to the foul line. We did and we were fortunate to be able to get our best foul shooter Kaylie at the foul line. Being a senior captain and all, composure and nothing but net.”

“We’re all in the same boat,” Basil coach Terry Mancini said. “We had three layoffs. We’re certainly not ready to play yet. One of our starters is out right now – Shannon Remolde – which we’re still trying to figure out some players. We’ll get it together. We showed a lot of effort in that second half getting back in the game.”

The Monarchs built their lead at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third. After SBA scored six straight points to tie the game at 12, Griffin and Bianca Coleman hit back-to-back threes to send GMA to halftime with an 18-12 advantage. Griffin hit a three-pointer and a mid-range jumper early in the third quarter to make it 11 straight for the Monarchs and a 23-12 lead.

“If you look back at that stretch of the game we executed our offense to perfection for this early in the season,” Lonergan said.

Sofia Coleman and Bianca Coleman were the only other two Monarchs to score in the game. Sofia, who hit two threes in the first quarter, finished with eight points and Bianca had seven.

Carter led the Panthers with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. She scored all six of SBA’s first-quarter points. White added eight points.

Gwynedd Mercy Academy 38, Saint Basil Academy 34

Gwynedd Mercy Academy 12 6 13 7 – 38

Saint Basil Academy 6 6 11 11 – 34

GMA: Newell 0 0-0 0, K Griffin 7 7-8 23, H Griffin 0 0-0 0, Masterson 0 0-0 0, B Coleman3 0-0 7, S Coleman 3 0-0 8, Mangan 0 0-2 0. Total 13 7-10 38.

SBA: Nigro 1 0-0 2, White 3 1-2 8, Carter 4 9-10 17, Scannell 1 0-0 3, Hunter 2 0-0 4, Bentley 0 0-0 0, Magilton 0 0-0 0, Joniec 0 0-0 0. Total 11 10-12 34.

Three-point goals: GMA: K Griffin 2, B Coleman, S Coleman 2. SBA: White, Scannell.

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