Elle Stauffer owned January.
The Germantown Academy junior, who wears No. 1, dominated the first month of 2019 for the Patriots by scoring 217 points in 13 games. Stauffer, who scored eight points on Jan. 3, had at least 13 in every other game and scored 19 or more five times.
With a 16.7 points per game average and a rebounding average close to six per contest, the 5-foot-10 forward had it all going.
“I just keep working on everything,” Stauffer said after scoring 19 against Penn Charter on Wednesday. “I’ve been trying to play more aggressive ever since my AAU season started and playing with people I know can get me open and work to get each other open helps a lot.”
Stauffer, who plays for the Comets AAU program where she’s teammates with GA classmate Maddie Vizza, is a three-year starter for the Patriots and has only gotten better with each passing season. A tremendous athlete, Stauffer got by on her natural gifts somewhat parts of her first two seasons at GA, but her game is much more refined this year.
Now, it’s not uncommon to see Stauffer sky into the air, snatch a rebound then push the ball up the floor herself. She had one of those on Wednesday, creating a one-person fastbreak for a fourth quarter layup against Penn Charter.
Teams have tried to negate Stauffer’s athleticism by playing her more physical.
“I’ve noticed when teams are playing more physical, they want to face-guard and get up on me a little bit more,” Stauffer said. “I know my strength is speed, so I try to go backdoor or get the ball and just by them.”
As the numbers show, it hasn’t really worked. Stauffer also doesn’t really mind if teams want to try and push or bump her around.
The junior grew up with it, so it’s really nothing new.
“I love physical games, I have two brothers so I grew up getting hit going to the basket,” Stauffer said. “I just try to go up strong and knowing they’re pushing on me just tells me I have to push a little harder.”
The other addition to Stauffer’s game this year is her increasingly reliable jump shot. Against PC, she started the third quarter with a 3-point shot and she ended the first half with a smooth 17-footer off a kick-out pass by Sarah DiLello.
“I’ve been working with a trainer alongside one of my friends,” Stauffer said. “It just comes down to getting a lot of reps and it’s helping me a lot. For college, I’m not always going to have that ability to get by people, everyone gets faster and stronger, so I need to rely on that outside shot and I think it’s getting there.”
Stauffer has already decided on her next stop, verbally committing to Harvard just before the season started. The junior said she was looking at a lot of Ivy League schools but her first visit to Harvard sold her.
“I went to their camp in the summer, fell in love with the campus, fell in love with the coaches, their style of play and the team chemistry I saw,” Stauffer said. “I didn’t really have to think about it, I just knew it was the right place for me.”
Stauffer and the rest of her teammates have yet to win a PAISAA title, so the junior is hoping February proves as productive as January with GA also having a chance to win back-to-back undefeated Inter-Ac titles, with a current 8-0 league mark.
MORE FOR FOUR
Pennridge senior Sean Yoder is closing in on another milestone.
In the Rams’ Jan. 22 win over Quakertown, Yoder vaulted Tim Abruzzo to take over second place in the program’s all-time scoring list. Abruzzo, who scored 1,152 points at Pennridge, went on to play at the United State Naval Academy, where Yoder will be heading next year.
Since that game, Yoder has tallied 28 total points in two wins to give him 1,207 career tallies prior to Saturday’s showdown with Reading. The senior now sits 152 points behind current record holder Dan Long’s 1,359. Long is currently preparing for his junior season at Monmouth, where he is an infielder/relief pitcher on the Hawks’ baseball team.
The link between all three, beside their gaudy point totals, is their jersey number. During their time at Pennridge, all three guards have worn the No. 4.
Yoder and Pennridge host Central Bucks South on Monday in a pivotal game in the SOL Continental title race.
THE OTHER GUYS
The Abington boys basketball program has been on a stellar run of success the last six years.
From a state semifinal finish in 2014, to three of the last four District 1 big school titles, the Galloping Ghosts have not only won a lot of games, the program has produced some superb players. Current seniors Eric Dixon (Villanova) and Lucas Monroe (Penn) are the latest in that lineage of standouts.
But, Abington wouldn’t be the team it is without its supporting cast.
“We have guys who are hungry, there’s a lot of pride that comes with playing Abington basketball,” Monroe said after Wednesday’s win over Plymouth Whitemarsh. “We’ve been pretty successful the last half-decade, so guys are excited to be in the program and when they get pulled up to varsity and into the rotation, they’re ready to do whatever they have to do to help us win.”
In Wednesday’s win, the support cast was terrific with junior Manir Waller scoring 10 points and seniors Maurice Henry and Darius Brown each scoring eight. This year’s crop of complementary guys is senior heavy and in a little bit of a rarity, pretty experienced.
Brown is a two-year starter and got minutes as a sophomore while Henry came off the bench last season, so they’re used to big games. Waller was a top JV player last season while Derek Sussman and Jack Moynihan have filled in as shooters to spot up around Dixon and Monroe.
They’re trusted members of the team and Brown, who had hit 17 3-pointers in the team’s last six games as of Wednesday, is a co-captain this year. It’s a distinction some members of supporting casts in years past have held as well and Abington coach Charles Grasty knows the type of guys he’s getting every year.
“We’re all one program, we practice together, our JV coaches do a good job preparing the guys to come up to varsity and when we get them, it’s not very difficult,” Grasty said. “It’s something that we’ve been doing the past nine years and hopefully the kids will continue to learn, get better and want to be part of the program.
“We’re trying to do something special like everyone else.”
It’s also been a good season for former Ghosts at the collegiate level. West Chester senior Matt Penecale, a leader on the 2015 district title team, set the program’s all-time assist record on Wednesday night.
Kutztown redshirt senior Athony Lee has been unstoppable all year with the third-highest scoring average in Division II (28.0 ppg), setting a Golden Bears single-game record with a 50-point outing, surpassing 2,000 career points and will likely break the program’s scoring record before the end of the season.
One of the two people ahead of Lee is a former teammate in Shaw redshirt junior Amir Hinton. Hinton, who transferred to Shaw from Lock Haven, is the most prolific scorer in D-II ball with a 31.2 ppg average.
CHADWIN LEAVING LEGACY
For 40 years, Steve Chadwin has guided the Abington Friends School boys basketball program with a style all his own.
Come June, Coach C will be calling it a wrap on a storied teaching and coaching career that’s spanned more than 600 wins and 16 Friends Schools League titles. In his time at AFS, Chadwin has taught physical education and aside from boys’ basketball, has coached varsity and middle school baseball and softball and served as the school’s athletic director.
“I tried to use the game of basketball to teach life lessons to young people growing up in high school to become better people,” Chadwin said in a press release issued by the school. “I just love coaching the game, and that was my goal all of the time.”
Chadwin has sent more than 60 players on to the college level.
While he’s stepping away from the sidelines, Chadwin will still be linked to AFS for years to come. The under-construction Richard N Berman Athletics Center, which will open for the 2019 fall sports season, will honor Chadwin and longtime girls basketball coach Debbie Stauffer by dedicating the court with their names.
Archbishop Wood has some good wins on its resume this winter, but the Vikings girls basketball team still needed one in the Philadelphia Catholic League.
Thanks to Kaitlyn Orihel’s outstanding second half Thursday, the Vikings got one over a West Catholic team that was tied for the PCL’s best record. Wood is currently the fourth seed in the standings, but now has a window to finish third.
“We feel really good about this one,” Orihel said. “Our losses in the PCL, we felt like they were winnable if we’d done a couple things different. Coming back from being down eight, this win should only boost our confidence.”
Wood lost on the road to the other teams that were tied with West Catholic – Archbishop Carroll and Neumann-Goretti, and dropped a home game to Cardinal O’Hara after Orihel left in the second half with an ankle injury.
Recent history in the PCL playoffs has dictated the top seed isn’t always the best route anyway as the No. 3 seed has won the last three Catholic League titles. The Vikings have two games left to end the regular season and should they win out, they assure themselves of a home quarterfinal game.
“I was glad we still had this game on the schedule. I think it was our first mentally tough win, we had to grind,” Wood coach Mike McDonald said. “When you go down, it can knock you down especially when you’ve lost a lot of games this season, so I think the toughness factor they had to have to win this game is my biggest positive moving forward.”