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Girls Basketball: Marple Newtown, Garnet Valley get revenge, finals spots

Marple Newtown's Mary O'Brien, center, goes up for a basket in a December game against Episcopal Academy. (PETE BANNAN - DAILY TIMES)

The third time was the charm for Marple Newtown and Garnet Valley.

In the Central League semifinals Saturday, the Tigers and Jaguars avenged regular-season heartbreaks, clinching their sports to Monday’s final (Ridley, 6 p.m.).

Marple defeated No. 2 Springfield, 45-40, in overtime. Nikki Mostardi hit a floater to give the Tigers the lead in overtime, and Mary O’Brien was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.

The third-seeded Tigers (17-5) were winless in two contests against the Cougars, the reigning league champions.

“It was a monkey off our backs,” coach Ryan Wolski said. “It was a close game the entire time. The kids battled. They wanted it. (Springfield’s Taylor Hunyet) hit two big free throws for them (to tie the game in the fourth quarter). Same kid who made them to beat us last time. I was thinking, oh no, here we go again.”

In OT, Marple went ahead by four on Mostardi’s floater and two free throws. Springfield’s Mia Valerio buried a 3-pointer to cut Marple’s lead to one, then O’Brien hit four consecutive free throws in the waning seconds.

Mostardi paced the Tigers with 15 points. O’Brien, Haley Levy and Brooke Impriano all scored 10 points.

“When they all score in double figures, we win,” Wolski said.

MN has never played in a Central League final. The program’s only league title was won in 1980.

Kaitlyn Kearney led Springfield with 14 points.

Fifth-seeded Garnet Valley upset No. 1 Haverford in a blowout After losing twice to the Fords, the young Jaguars rolled to a 36-22 win. GV held the hosts to nine points through three quarters.

“Great defensive game. The kids were excited for the chance to play them again,” Garnet Valley coach Joe Woods said. “We had a great effort from all of our starters”

Emily Olsen registered 10 points, eight rebounds and a steal. Ava Possenti had a strong floor game with nine points, three steals and two assists. The senior guard went 7-for-8 from the foul line. Haylie Adamski added seven points, five boards, two assists and a block.

Caroline Dotsey led Haverford with nine points.

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