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Perkiomen Valley books return trip to PAC championship, handles Methacton 58-33

Perkiomen Valley's Grace Galbavy (35) is congratulated by Julia Smith, second from left, and teammates after scoring and being fouled in the third quarter of a PAC semifinal on Feb. 11 at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog - MediaNews Group)

GRATERFORD >> Everyone was kept on their toes by the starting lineup of the Perkiomen Valley girls basketball team last year.

Three freshmen – Bella Bacani, Julia Smith and Lena Stein – shared the Vikings’ fifth starting spot, a rotation rooted in matchups and unpredictability.

This season, the trio still shares equally well. But now it’s about the ball instead of a spot for three-fifths of PV’s starting five.

Crisp, flowing ball movement was just one of many things that went right for Perkiomen Valley Saturday night when it proved too much to handle in a 58-33 victory over Methacton in a Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinal that sends the Vikings to the championship for the second straight season.

The No. 1 seed Vikings (22-1) advance to face five-time defending champion Spring-Ford – a winner over Phoenixville in the other semifinal – at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Perkiomen Valley.

“I’m super excited. This is what we’ve been working for all season, we’ve just gotta pull through,” Lena Stein said. “We’ve put in so much work.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Quinn Boettinger puts up a shot down low as Methacton’s Mairi Smith defends during the first half of a PAC semifinal on Feb. 11 at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Point guard Bacani was the hot hand for the Vikings as she caught fire in the third quarter with 16 of her game-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers. It turned a game where Methacton was within striking distance down nine at halftime (25-16) into a rout a quarter later when PV’s lead grew to 46-24 entering the fourth.

“Coming out from halftime, we kept going hard. No brakes, going all gas,” Bacani said. “Going really, really hard is what you have to do out of halftime.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Bella Bacani initiates the offense against Methacton during the first half of a PAC semifinal on Feb. 11 at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Bacani was one of three Vikings in double figures, joined by fellow sophomores Grace Galbavy and Quinn Boettinger with 18 and 13 points, respectively. It was PV’s third win over Methacton this season.

Methacton (16-8), which fell in the semifinal for the second straight year, got 12 points from sophomore Abby Arnold and 10 from senior Cassidy Kropp.

The consistent spot in the starting lineup has been a source of motivation for Bacani, Stein (4 points) and Smith.

“All of us rotating last year, it really motivated us to play hard this year and work together,” Bacani said. “It motivated me a lot, to shoot more, to drive more because last year I didn’t really do that. In the offseason I worked really hard to get this position.”

It’s also been validating.

“We’re all being rewarded for everything we’ve shown we can do,” Stein said. “It’s great to have that responsibility and that role on an amazing team with such great teammates.”

“Starting now, I have a lot more confidence in myself,” Smith said. “I know that’s true for Lena and Bella, too.”

 

Methacton’s Cassidy Kropp, center, is swarmed by Perkiomen Valley defenders, from left, Allie Matasich, Lena Stein and Grace Galbavy (35) during the second half of a PAC semifinal on Feb. 11 at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Methacton’s Abby Arnold dribbles toward the basket as Perkiomen Valley’s Bella Bacani defends during the second half of a PAC semifinal on Feb. 11 at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

With a potential return to the PAC final available, the Vikings brought the intensity one would expect.

“Our energy is always up. When our energy is up we always come out strong,” Smith said. “We definitely have learned throughout the season that our energy has to be up, that we have to come out as hard as we can and keep it like that.”

It translated on the scoreboard as PV closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run for a 17-5 lead. The lead grew as large as 13 in the second quarter but the Warriors got four straight points from Mairi Smith (6 points) to go into half down nine, 25-16.

Bacani knocked down a 3 out of halftime and didn’t look back, hitting four treys in her big stretch.

Perk Valley scored 18 unanswered in the second half, a superb steal and score and-one from Galbavy triggering the run. It was 51-24 by the time Arnold’s 3 stopped the bleeding for the Warriors.

Methacton will have a week to regroup before beginning the District 1-6A playoffs. The Warriors are currently ranked No. 15.

Perkiomen Valley has less turnover time but a lot to play for when the third chapter this year of the PV-Spring-Ford rivalry is written next Wednesday.

The Vikings got a taste of the final last year – a 43-36 Spring-Ford victory – but want to take it a step further.

“The bar was set last year. This year we set new goals for ourselves and as a team,” Stein said. “We want to do better, push ourselves and want to get that banner. It’s made us more hungry and more determined to do everything in our power to get even farther than last year.”

PAC Semifinal

Results

Team1234T
Methacton5118933
Perkiomen Valley178211258

Methacton

Player FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS
Ashley Fisher00000
Cassidy Kropp412110
Morgan Coupe00000
Abby Arnold501212
Margaret Toaso00000
Reana Torres12215
Ava Cingiser00000
Jenna Kaufman00000
Sydney Hockenbrock00000
Courtney Freese00000
Mairi Smith14606
Total11711433

Perkiomen Valley

Player FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS
Anna Stein01201
Bella Bacani700519
Julia Smith00000
Ella Stein10013
Lena Stein04604
Allie Matasich00000
Quinn Boettinger523113
Grace Galbavy745018
Total201116758

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