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Germantown Academy rolls past Baldwin School in Inter-Ac opener

WHITEMARSH >> The Germantown Academy girls basketball team came into Tuesday’s Inter-Academic League opener banged up, with four players out of the lineup due to injury. The Patriots’ record was also a little bruised, having dropped a pair of games at the Art Turner Memorial Tip-Off in Virginia.

But with smothering defensive pressure and a balanced effort on offense, two-time defending league champ GA bounced back against visiting Baldwin School. The Patriots had a 10-point lead after a quarter, were up 26 at the half and rolled to a 66-30 victory over the Bears.

“I think (Shannon) Topley had like eight steals compounding with everybody else just being in the right spot and causing the right deflections,” GA coach Sherri Retif said. I was just really pleased with the way they bounced back and we’re so young but the leadership that we saw with (Rachel) Balzer and (Lilly) Bolen is exciting.”

Germantown Academy (2-2, 1-0 Inter-Ac) was led by Bolen collecting a game-high 19 points, 13 coming in the first half. Bolen started her scoring knocking down a three-pointer in the first quarter then proceeded to hurt Baldwin inside — a spot on the floor she is still working on being comfortable at.

“I think a lot of times I’m a little hesitant with my shot because I do play the post position for this school team because technically I probably would be a swing player so like a 3, 4,” Bolen said. “So that’s one of my good attributes because I can play guard and play post because of our numbers this year I am playing mostly post. So a lot of times I pigeonhole myself to that position and feel like I’m supposed to be the one shooting, but I think as long as I keep the mindset I can take outside shots and get my own shots, then I’ll keep progressing with that.”

Rachel Balzer came off the bench to knock down four three-pointers and finished with 16 points, 11 coming before the half. Maddie Vizza chipped in nine points while several other Patriots providing quality efforts.

“Emily Morrissey her first start to come out and contribute with such confidence that way she did,” said Retif. “I thought Topley and Vizza just complement each other so well and Jaye Haynes our freshman has just constantly moved up in the lineup, first off the bench today and just taken advantage of everything she can and her defense is exceptional.”

Amaris Baker led Baldwin School (0-4, 0-1) with 16 points while Taylor Levinson chipped in 10 points.

Germantown Academy next plays Friday at Souderton’s Jim Church Classic, facing Lansdale Catholic at 3:30 p.m. Host Souderton faces Phoenixville in the tournament’s other contest with championship and consolation games Saturday.

The Patriots finished Tuesday’s first quarter with an 11-3 run capped by a Balzer three that put the Patriots up 18-8.

“She’s such a quick trigger and she just does a great job setting her feet before the catch,” said Retif of Balzer. “And she reads angles really well. Bolen’s been setting incredible scenes for her and then popping, they just read each other really well.

“So it’s exciting to see that come when you graduated three and so many people injured it’s just given us that core to build off of.”

The Patriots’ pressure defense got to Baldwin in the second quarter, GA forcing turnovers on inbound passes and in the backcourt. Already up 26-12, Germantown Academy strung together 15 straight points to hold a 41-12 lead after a Vizza bucket of a drive. Baker’s corner three ended the run and made the scoreline 41-15 at the break.

“We take a lot of pride in our defense, especially our press and we’ve working on that in practice,” Bolen said. “So whatever press we do run we try to at least get a few steals from that.

Baldwin could only cut the margin down to 21 in the second after a Baker triple made it 45-24. A Vizza three gave GA a 54-26 lead at the end of the third quarter while a Balzer trey to start scoring in the fourth had the Patriots leading by 31.

Germantown Academy 66, Baldwin 30
Baldwin School  8   7 11   4 — 30
Germantown Academy 18 23 13 12 — 66
Baldwin School: Amaris Baker 5 3-5 16;  Taylor Levinson 5 0-0 10; Anajah Brown 1 0-0 2 Rani Bleznak 1 0-0 2; Totals 12 3-5 30.
Germantown Academy: Lily Bolen 8 2-2 19; Rachel Balzer 6 0-0 16; Maddie Vizza  3 2-2 9; Emily Morrissey 3 0-0 6; Shannon Topley 2 0-0 4; Abby Starzecky 2 0-0 4; Taylor Putnam 1 0-0 3; Maddie Burns 0 2-2 2; Jaye Haynes 1 0-2 2 Kaitlyn Prior 0 1-2 1; Totals 26 7-10 66.
Three-pointers: B-Baker 3; GA-Balzer 4, Bolen, Putnam, Vizza.

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