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Haverford defense leaves Radnor short of ‘A game’

Haverford's Chiara MacGillivray, seen here in a game against Upper Darby this season, led a strong Haverford defensive effort Saturday in a win over Radnor. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

CONCORD — For much of Saturday afternoon it was one of those games where points were scarce and only the clock moved.

When the math was complete the Haverford girls exited with a 38-23 victory over Radnor in the Central League basketball quarterfinals at Garnet Valley High. It was as dominating a defensive performance as you could hope for in a playoff setting.

“We’re used to that pace because we know we play mostly a defensive game,” said Fords junior Chiara MacGillivray, who scored 10 points. “Our strength is on defense. If we’re going to create on offense, it’s going to start at the defensive end. That’s really where we get all our energy. We were able to work as a team to get stops.”

The Fords (15-9) take on top-seeded Springfield in the semis Monday.

The way the Fords played in-your-face defense Saturday, it’s hard to believe the Cougars got enough of a look to beat them via a buzzer-beating three-pointer in the regular season.

Ellie Mueller, the 1,000-point scorer, scored 10 points for the Raiders. Teammate Brienne Williams was limited to six points.

“Our goal was to try to shut down 11 and 31,” Fords coach Lauren Pellicane said, referencing the duo. “Radnor is always prepared with Coach (Mark) Jordan. They’re dangerous. So, we were very, very happy with our defensive effort as a group today.”

Deliberate as the Raiders were, they had a difficult time getting shots in their set offense against the Fords.

The Fords weren’t going to shatter any shooting records, either, yet grabbed a 12-3 lead in the first quarter, Addison Brodnik drilling a couple of threes on her way to eight points in the frame.

The Fords increased their defensive intensity along with their lead in the second quarter behind MacGillivray, who scored seven points.

Haverford led by 16 at the intermission and was ahead, 29-10, in the third quarter. Mueller, a senior, scored six of the last seven points in the frame to give her teammates hope.

It was just one of those days where the Fords, who led from start to finish, weren’t going to be happy unless they contested every shot.

“They’re a good team,” Jordan said. “They’re physical, they’re well-coached. We had to be on our A game to really stay with them. That wasn’t our A game. We missed a lot of layups and a lot of foul shots. They made a lot more than we did and they made some three-pointers. Give them credit. They were good and they took it right to us.”

The Raiders (14-9) cut the deficit to 11 points in the fourth quarter yet couldn’t finish on shots in the paint.

The Fords had their struggles on offense, as well. But after each lull it seemed like MacGillivray and Addison Brodnik were there to get them started again. Both canned a pair of three-pointers.

Brodnik finished with 10 points.

“Addison and I provided some (three-pointers) and it definitely helped give our team some confidence,” MacGilivray said. “But we knew that we had to remain under control and keep working as hard as we could every possession.”

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