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Second quarter burst sends Haverford past Kennett, into 6A quarterfinals

HAVERFORD >> Haverford used a second-quarter burst to earn a 56-44 win over  Kennett in the first round of the District 1 Class 6A girls basketball tournament Saturday.

The 13th-seeded Fords (10-5) held No. 20 Kennett scoreless for the first five minutes and limited the visitors to one field goal in the quarter. With its second-quarter burst, Haverford led, 29-15, at halftime.

“I think our intensity level picked up in the second quarter.” Haverford’s Caroline Dotsey said. “I felt like, personally, I was on my toes ready to go.

“I felt like we were able to communicate as a team (defensively) – knowing when to switch, knowing when to stay with our girl. I think we were able to jump to the gaps. I know that if I mess up on something, my team’s right there behind me, ready to pick it up.”

In the second quarter, Dotsey tallied four field goals, mostly from underneath. She finished with 22 points but her interior defense and rebounding was key for the Fords.

“I think rebounding was big for us today – getting under the basket, knowing where to be, and where the ball’s going to go after a shot,” Dotsey said. “I felt like we were able to really move the ball well as a team – finding the open gaps and open spaces. We worked together really well.”

Another key force underneath was 6-foot sophomore Mollie Carpenter, who added solid rebounding and scoring (10 points).

“I think we got some second opportunities and putbacks today, and that’s what both of them do well,” Haverford coach Lauren Pellicane said of Dotsey and Carpenter. “We talked about how you can make a living with offensive rebounds, putbacks and getting yourself to the foul line. The two of them play well together and we have a bright future with them.”

The Fords advance to the next round of the District 1 Class 6A tournament, and will visit No. 4 seed Upper Dublin Wednesday.

Although Kennett (5-5) got no closer than 10 points in the second half Saturday, the offense picked up in the third quarter, as the Blue Demons connected on four treys – two from senior Ellie Matthews (who had a game-high 23 points), and one each from freshmen Greta Burns and Mary Carroll. Kennett wound up tallying eight 3-pointers. Mikayla Kelly added 10 points for the Blue Demons.

Haverford, meanwhile, received 10 points from junior guard Emma Rowland. It was a timely contribution. One one week ago the Fords lost junior point guard Maddie Williams for the rest of the season with a broken bone in her foot.

“We’ve pretty much gone to point guard by committee since then,” said Pellicane. “We’ve had a couple of our seniors handle the ball. We’ve had Emma Rowland, who had a nice offensive game today and gave us a boost, and Sky Newman, who comes off the bench.”

Kennett ended its season with a 5-5 record, an improvement over the Blue Demons’ 3-18 won-loss mark during the 2019-20 season. Kennett did not play for the last two weeks in February, due to COVID. They resumed play March 1, and played four games the first week of March.

During the past week, the Blue Demons have been getting standout play from 5-foot-9 senior Ellie Matthews, who scored a game-high 23 points Saturday, including four treys.

“Ellie has really played well the last four games, not just scoring the ball but doing a lot of other things.” said Kennett head coach Vince Cattano. “We’re really going to miss her.”

Kennett sophomore guard Mikayla Kelly tallied 10 points Saturday. The Blue Demons’ starting lineup Saturday was a youthful one, featuring Kelly, Ellie Matthews and three freshmen.

Cattano reflected on the Blue Demons’ rough second quarter: “I think some of that was our youth, our inexperience; but I also think that some of it was that we didn’t execute well. Maybe we were a little sloppy with the ball, and didn’t have the best shot selection; but that’s part of the learning curve, a young team in a district playoff game.

“You hope that the young kids take something out of [today’s game] and learn from it, so that the next time we’re here, it ends a little differently. For our seniors, this district playoff game was a reward for a good season. I say this about district playoffs – some years, it’s an expectation, some years it’s an accomplishment – for this team, it was an accomplishment to get into the district playoffs.”

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