ROYERSFORD >> There was a lot more than usual going on when Spring-Ford hosted Methacton in a Pioneer Athletic Conference girls basketball game on Tuesday night. In addition to the contest having league playoff seeding and Liberty Division championship implications and the Rams wanting to gain a bit of revenge after losing to the Warriors earlier in the season, there were also two players within range of reaching the 1,000-point mark for their careers.
And when the dust had settled, Spring-Ford had played a superb game on both offense and defense and evened the score with the Warriors for the season with a 60-35 win while Methacton’s Cassidy Kropp had scored 15 points to hit the 1,000-point mark exactly.
The Rams’ junior guard Anna Azzara led all scorers with 19 points, to up her career total to 994, six from the 1,000-point milestone.
Spring-Ford (8-1 Liberty, 11-1 PAC, 19-1 overall) will visit Perkiomen Valley on Thursday for a game that will decide the Liberty Division title, the top seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye that goes with it. Methacton (6-3, 9-3, 14-6) had already clinched a wildcard berth for the six-team playoffs.
Kropp, appropriately, scored points No. 999 and 1,000 the way she has scored many over the years … from the free-throw line. She sank both ends of a 1-and-1 with 2:01 remaining in the contest, making her 10-for-10 from the line for the night.
“I’ve definitely shot plenty of free throws,” said the Warriors’ 5-foot-10 senior. “I’m used to being at the line. It was ideal to make my 1,000 points at the free throw line. That’s my go-to before games, practicing free throws. It paid off. It’s an amazing accomplishment. I’m proud of myself. It’s not like something like this happens every day so it’s cool.”
“For Cass to go to the free-throw line and have to make two, she must have felt a lot of pressure,” said Methacton coach Craig Kaminski. “I’m extremely happy for here. That is a tremendous achievement.”
Kropp scored a driving layup to give Methacton a 6-3 lead and the first quarter ended up at 8-8. But the Rams did not allow the Warriors a field goal during a 20-6 second quarter and kept stretching the lead from there.
“We played really well,”said Spring-Ford coach Mickey McDaniel. “We were exceptional on the glass and ball movement. Megan Robbins (14 points, 6 rebounds) did a tremendous job on Mairi (Smith) tonight. And Katie (Tiffan) did a really good job on Cassidy. I’m really proud of the defense we played, and the offense. We really put together a good game.”
“Spring-Ford played a great all-around basketball game,” said Kaminski. “They had a great shooting game, which I don’t think they had the first night.
The Warriors were not at 100 percent, with Kropp playing with a head cold and Abby Arnold (7 points) playing her first game back from an injury.
“I was happy with the first quarter, but I was disappointed with our effort after that,” Kaminski added. “But give Spring-Ford all the credit. They shot very well. They just played at another level tonight.”
Azzara scored eight in the third quarter to bring her total to 19, but could not hit any of her three shots in the fourth and went to the bench with the rest of the starters late in the game.
“If it happens, it happens,” she said. “The whole team stuck together and played their parts … Megan in the paint and Katie on defense. Everyone really played their roles. Definitely losing to them the first time (50-42 at Methacton on January 5) didn’t feel too good. But we didn’t let our emotions get to us.”
Kropp made two from the line in both the second and third quarters and hit a 3-pointer in the third, then went 6-for-6 from the stripe in the fourth.
“Congratulations to Cassidy,” said McDaniel. “It’s great achievement for her and the Methacton program. She deserves the accolades she gets.”
The accomplishment was even more impressive because of Kropp’s unselfish play throughout her career, according to Kaminski.
“Cass is a very unselfish basketball player,” he said. “When she was a freshman, we were always yelling at her to shoot the ball. And for three years, she was always behind Nicole Timko, who was the program’s all-time leading scorer. Her job was to get her the ball. She’s always worried about getting her teammates involved.”
“I was a little timid on offense,” said Kropp. “It was good that I could start scoring more points. I can’t thank my teammates enough.”
Kropp would have had an opportunity to reach the milestone at home on Thursday, but wanted to take care of it on Tuesday.
“I knew I couldn’t let up tonight playing Spring-Ford,” she said.”And I had a lot of my family come down.”
“Tonight, she wanted to get it and we wanted her to get it,” said Kaminski. “She’s a tremendous unselfish basketball player and an all-around good person. I’ve enjoyed these four years.”
Methacton vs Spring-Ford