SHILLINGTON >> Gwynedd Mercy found out just how important Carly Bachinsky is to the team’s success Wednesday evening.
One of two seniors on the team, Bachinsky was the center of the Monarchs gameplan against Bethlehem Catholic in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A state playoffs.
She went down with an injury two minutes into the second quarter with GMA leading by six. Bethlehem Catholic took the lead later in the quarter and never looked back.
The Monarchs season came to an end, 44-33, at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School.
Bachinsky, who already wore a brace on her right knee from an ACL tear going into her junior season, had two points, two rebounds and one assist through eight minutes while GMA held a 15-9 lead. She also held her Bethlehem Catholic counterpart, who finished with 10 points, scoreless.
“The whole game changed,” GMA coach Tom Lonergan said. “It’s undescribable. She gets all the reps. Our full intentions were to use her backup (freshman Sofia Coleman) … to give Carly a 30-second, minute blow a quarter. That was it. It went from that to then having to take over. That wasn’t working, then we had to go really small. The whole game was out the window — the whole game. Once she was out, the whole game was out the window. Our whole gameplan, which was at that point working extremely well.”
“She’s one of our oldest posts,” guard Kaylie Griffin, who scored a game-high 13 points, said. “She’s our senior. We have a freshman but she’s really just not there yet. (Bachinsky) going down, we thought to ourselves we have to play for her and then the momentum just stopped. It was hard to get it rolling again.”
The Monarchs (16-11) had 15 points through the first eight minutes of the game and only scored 18 over the next 24.
“She really makes it difficult for the other team’s big kid because Carly can step out and knock down a three,” Lonergan said.
Bethlehem Catholic closed the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 20-17 lead into halftime and extended it to a 23-6 run to lead 32-21 late in the third quarter.
Gwynedd struggled with turnovers throughout the game. The District 1 champions were consistently whistled for five-second calls and finished the game with 20 turnovers.
“We’re a dribble-drive team,” Lonergan said. “We had seven five-second closely guarded calls against us. Since we’re a dribble-drive team, that crushed us.
“We had some turnovers on moving screens, but we’ve done that occasionally during the season. It was the five-second closely guarded calls that killed us.”
“We came in and we were definitely prepared for their up-ball pressure,” Griffin added. “It was things we should not have gotten wrong that caused the turnovers. The (illegal) screens — we’re used to going over wider screens and we’re tougher, I guess, and we weren’t adjusting to the refs. And the five seconds, we thought we were breaking the five seconds, but I guess not.”
When Bachinsky left the game, Coleman came onto the floor and GMA’s defense changed. They forced 19 turnovers over the final three quarters.
“I think you saw a lot of spunk in us,” Lonergan said, “maybe saw a preview to next year’s team with all that full-court pressure. They’ll bounce back.”