Fort Washington >> They may be down, but do not count them out.
The Great Valley girls basketball squad found themselves in a familiar position, down to an opponent at halftime. But once again the rally was decisive and victorious.
The Patriots held Upper Dublin to 11 points in the second half as they staged a comeback for a 34-32 victory Wednesday in a District 1 6A Girls Basketball Playback game.
The 16th-seeded Patriots improved to 17-9 and will face No. 3 Methacton on Friday in the ninth-place game.
“I mean this as a compliment, they’re used to making mistakes and they’re used to playing through those mistakes,” said Great Valley coach Alex Venarchik. “And that’s what we did in the second half. By no means did we play a perfect game, but they just keep playing. They know that the next play could get us rolling again. So, they’re always trying to win that next possession. It’s a tremendous mindset they have.”
They faced their largest deficit, 21-13, late in the second quarter, when Laura Lum hit a stepback 3-pointer — her second in the quarter — and Great Valley trailed 21-16 going into halftime.
The Pats came out of the break and worked on erasing the lead. Gracen Curley started the proceeding with a basline drive for a layup. That started Great Valley on a 6-1 run. Curley made the same move on the left side to cut it to 22-20.
“I trusted my teammates that they were going to get theirs,” said Curley. “I sort of saw the defender not really into the help and I knew that if I was quick enough, I can get there.”
“It was huge,” Venarchick said of the run. “It gave them the confidence to say, we can play with this team. So, that when things did go bad in the third and fourth quarters, they knew they could play with this team.”
Two free throws by Gia Sioutis tied the score at 22-22. Then, Curley was the key on the defensive end as her blocked shot sent Lum off on a fast break, the resultant basket put Great Valley into the lead, 24-22. The Flying Cardinals came back as Geena Sarnoski buried a 3-pointer. Moments later, Sioutis rebounded her own miss, made the layup and was fouled. The free throw gave the lead back to Great Valley, but Upper Dublin tied it again, 27-27, just before the end of the quarter on a basket by Sarnoski.
Upper Dublin retook the lead on a jumper by Aditi Foster, but it would prove to be its last point for almost six minutes. Baskets seconds apart by Curley and Sioutis put Great Valley ahead 32-29 with 2:47 left. Another score from Curley maded 34-29 with 1:25 remaining.
But, a free throw by Colleen Klammer and a 15-footer by Sarnoski cut the margin to 34-32 with 32.8 left.
Great Valley almost put it away, when on an inbounds following a foul, Sioutis broke away by herself, but missed the layup.
The Cardinals’ (17-10) last chance came following a missed free throw, but a pass in the GV end went awry and the clock expired.
“I thought they did a good job defending us all night,” said Upper Dublin coach Morgan Funsten. “I was disappointed in our halfcourt defense. It’s usually a strength and I thought we gave up several easy baskets in the second half and even a couple of offensive rebound putbacks.”
Curley paced GV with 14 points, Lum added 10 and Sioutis seven. Sarnoski had 14 points and Foster had 12. The Cardinals were held to just four made field goals in the last 16 minutes.
“For whatever reason, we seemed to struggle to play with energy tonight,” added Funsten. “Which is disappointing because you just qualified for states, you’re at home with a nice crowd and I was disappointed with the energy the girls had.”
For Venarchik, though, the defensive effort left him smiling.
“That’s awesome,” he said. “That’s such a credit to them. That team is so well coached and disciplined. They were a handful to defend against. The fact that we held them to 11 points is truly tremendous.”
Great Valley 34. Upper Dublin 32
Great Valley: Eisenhardt 0 0-0 0; DiPrinzio 0 0-0 0; Sioutis 2 3-3 7; Maslowski 0 0-0 0; Rhodes 0 0-0 0; Riddell 0 0-0 0; Lum 4 0-0 10; Fedrick 1 1-1 3; Curley 6 0-3 14. Totals: 13 4-7 34.
Upper Dublin: Sanders 0 0-0 0; Brenner 1 0-0 2; Foster 5 2-4 13; Sarnoski 6 0-1 14; Kleiman 0 0-0 0; Klammer 1 1-3 3. Totals: 13 3-8 32.
Great Valley 10 6 11 7 — 34
Upper Dublin 12 9 6 5 — 32
3-point goals: Lum 2, Curley 2, Sarnoski 2, Foster.