HAVERFORD >> When Ashley Murphy finds her groove from beyond the arc, it’s difficult to cool off Haverford’s senior shooting guard.
While she wasn’t the only player responsible for the Fords’ tremendous second-half effort, which resulted in a 37-28 Central League win over Ridley, Murphy’s clutch shooting played a pivotal role.
Murphy’s third trey of the game and two free throws helped the Fords pull away late in regulation. She finished with a team-high 14 points.
Murphy’s been one of the top 3-pointer shooters in Delaware County all season and she put her skills on display Friday.
“I like setting up around the arc. If I can make one 3, that gets me pretty fired up,” said Murphy, who was 4-for-9 from the floor. “I just go from there. I guess I like shooting the most from the wing, but once I make one I feel a lot better and it makes it a easier.”
Haverford trailed at halftime by six points and went into the final stanza trailing by a point after Izzy Hamlin hit a layup as time expired to put Ridley back in front, 28-27. But it was an 8-0 run out of the locker room that gave the Fords hope. Senior guard Mollie Reynolds had four of her eight points in that stretch, with two steals and one assist. In the low post Brianna Blair stepped up her game and Haverford relied heavily on youngsters Annalena O’Reilly and Arden Guilfoil, who played stellar defense off the bench. O’Reilly also scored all six of her points after halftime.
“At halftime we knew we were down big time and we had to come out firing,” Murphy said. “It’s good to have good freshmen come in and give us a spark. They gave us energy and got us all going. Usually we come out a little flat in the third quarter, but we came out firing tonight.”
Blair, a junior forward, had only three points but was involved in critical plays in the fourth quarter. She passed to O’Reilly cutting in the lane for a layup, which at the time puffed Haverford’s lead to four points (32-28) with four minutes to go.
Blair (six rebounds) and senior forward/center Amanda Battista (seven rebounds, three blocks) succeeded in limiting Hamlin’s production in the fourth period. The senior forward had 10 of her team’s 19 points in the first half and finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds and two steals. But the Fords kept Hamlin and the Green Raiders off the scoreboard in the final quarter.
“The first thing our assistant coach said was make sure she doesn’t score, so that was my main focus against her,” Blair said. “It was partly the halftime speech that got us going (from coach Bridget DiCave). She was really angry. We had beat them before (45-41 Dec. 18), and our head coach is from Ridley, so it really meant a lot to play better.”
With Reynolds shut down in the fourth quarter — credit to Ridley senior Mel Malseed for playing texbook face-guard defense — DiCave relied on her impressive rookies to push the Fords to their 11th win.
“Defensively, to get back in the game we had to go full-court man and Arden and Annalena are our defensive specialists,” DiCave said. “Their big, Izzy, hurt us tonight. She is very, very tough to stop.”
For Ridley (7-10), Friday was another in a growing list of frustrating losses. The Raiders shot 0-for-9 from the floor in the fourth quarter, wasting a strong effort by Hamlin. No other Ridley player scored more than five points.
“We didn’t have enough help for Izzy, especially crashing the boards,” coach Bryant McCombs said. “If one person makes a bad pass … it goes down from there and they take themselves out of the play. The effort is there .. we just couldn’t stop it from going bad.”
Elsewhere in the Central League:
Springfield 39, Strath Haven 30 >> The Cougars connected on 14 of 19 free throws to hold off the Panthers. Maggie O’Connell of Springfield led all scorers with 14 points. Katie Fisher tallied 11 points for Strath Haven.
Radnor 58, Marple Newtown 45 >> Kristin Hamill had 21 points and Allison Lane chipped in 13 for the Raiders (10-8, 8-4). Nicole Massimino added 10.
Halle Robinson (13 points) and Olivia Young (11) powered the Tigers in defeat.
In the Catholic League:
Bonner & Prendergast 54, Conwell-Egan 13 >> The Pandas pitched a shutout (12-0) in the first quarter. Caroline Manfre and Maeve McCann led a balanced attack with 10 points each. Manfre also pulled down 10 rebounds. Princess Clemons added eight points, four assists and four steals.
In the Inter-Ac League:
Germantown Academy 49, Episcopal Academy 46 >> The Churchwomen had two chances to tie the game but could not get the equalizer. Luca Mamula led EA (9-6, 3-4) with 17 points.
Notre Dame 47, Agnes Irwin 36 >> Jill Kane scored 12 points on four 3s and Mandy McGurk coupled nine points with assists for the Irish (13-3, 7-1). Gianna Napolean paced the Owls with 11 points.
In the Del Val League:
Chichester 47, Chester 30 >> Lauren Carrafa poured in 25 points and Maura Murray added eight points and three steals for the Eagles, who picked up their fourth win of 2015-16.
In the Bicentennial League:
Delco Christian 48, Morrisville 40 >> Taylor Mingle’s baseline jumper with 32 seconds to play gave the Knights the lead for good. Siani McNeil netted a game-high 20 points for DC (13-5, 8-5)
In nonleague action:
Christopher Dock 44, Christian Academy 40 >> Lanae Hunsberger scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter and hit a pair of free throws to ice it. Lindsay Haseltine led the Crusaders (12-5) with 15 points.
Cheltenham 52, Interboro 43 >> The Panthers jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Gina McNamee led Interboro (7-11) with 15 points.