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Great Valley uses rally train to thwart Kennett

KENNETT SQUARE >> During a timeout early in the third quarter of Tuesday’s Ches-Mont League American Division girls basketball contest, Kennett head coach Vince Cattano told his team, “here comes the train.”
It may have been more of a local than an express, but it still pulled into victory station as Great Valley held the Blue Demons to one field goal in the second half as the Patriots rallied for a 36-31 triumph.
“To beat them, it’s a really good win for us,” said Great Valley coach Alex Venarchik. “We’ve been hitting small milestones the last couple of weeks and are looking to get better, and we knew this would be a tough game. The girls responded in the second half. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play in the first half. We didn’t have the energy we normally bring, but they showed me they could find it.”
Trailing 25-14 heading into the third quarter, the Pats (3-2, 6-5) mounted a comeback, riding the shooting of Gracen Curley. She scored Valley’s first eight points of the quarter, on a layup, a 3-pointer and an old fashioned three-point play to cut the deficit to 26-20.
“At halftime, Coach V came in and just told us we have to put in effort and we have to play hard and play like we want to win,” said Curley. “I wanted to win, so I tried to play my best and help the team to win.”
“She’s a fighter,” said Venarchik on Curley. “She didn’t play well in the first half, but I just told her coming off the court, ‘You didn’t give up, you kept grinding,’ She made some big, big shots for us.”
Molly Carroll scored on a layup off a steal in what turned out to be Kennett’s only field goal of the half for a 28-20 Blue Demon lead. Kennett’s 3-pointers, which staked them to the first-half lead, stopped falling in the second. They missed all but one of their 17 field goal attempts in the half — including 10 from beyond the arc.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Cattano. “It was a tale of two different halves. Credit to them. They held us to six points in the second half. You don’t win games scoring six points in the second half. We have just have to learn. For the first time this year we felt the heat and when the shots didn’t fall, we didn’t have an answer.”
Kennett (3-2, 8-3) led 29-22 after three periods, but the struggles from the floor continued, while Great Valley kept chipping the deficit down.
The Patriots trailed 31-29 after Laura Lum hit a three with 2:50 left. She added a basket a little over a minute later to knot the score at 31-31.
Taia DiPrinzio made a pair of free throws with 1:23 remaining to give the Patriots a 33-31 advantage, their first lead since the first basket of the game.
Lum and Curley made free throws down the stretch to put the capper on an impressive victory.
“This would definitely help us in the long run for districts and the playoffs,” said Curley. “It’s always good to win and beat teams you could in your conference.”
Curley had 14 points for the Patriots and Lum had 11. Makayla Kelly made three 3-pointers and scored 12 of her team-high 13 points in the first half. Greta Burns and Mia Matthews added eight points apiece.
“You look at our size, we’re not a very big team, we have to knock shots down,” added Cattano. “Some of our shots might not have been the best shots and we overreacted and passed up some of the ones we hit earlier.”

Great Valley 36, Kennett 31
Great Valley: Eisenhardt 0 0-0 0; DiPrizio 0 2-2 2; Sioutis 3 0-0 6; Lum 4 2-5 11; Fredrick 1 0-0 2; Curley 5 3-3 14; Powell 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 7-10 36.
Kennett: Carroll 1 0-1 2; Simmons 0 0-0 0; Burns 3 0-0 8; Mullin 0 0-0 0; Lusvardi 0 0-0 0; Kelly 4 2-4 13; Matthews 2 4-6 8; Harper 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 6-11 – 31
Great Valley 7 5 10 14 — 36
Kennett 13 12 4 2 — 31

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