PIAA Basketball – Chartiers Valley victory completes impressive state show for Western Pa.

By Matt Smith

Delaware County’s basketball teams were slapped with three losses at the PIAA Championships.

Bonner & Prendergast boys, Garnet Valley girls and Archbishop Carroll girls all left Chocolate-town with nothing more than tummy aches and runners-up trophies.

The Friars had city title bragging rights over Imhotep Charter stripped away in a fight for the Class 4A state boys crown. Imhotep won the foul-infested final, a highly-anticipated rematch that simply didn’t live up to the hype. Overall, though, the Friars had a great run, with 2018 Daily Times Player of the Year Isaiah Wong leading the way. Bonner & Prendie became the first team in school history to advance to the state final. 

Garnet Valley’s girls won 30 games, which was the most by a Delco public school team in 33 years. The Jags captured the Central League title for the third time in four years, and won the program’s first District 1 championship. Alas, they were no match for District 7 juggernaut Peters Township Friday night. But the Jags had nothing to frown about. They were the No. 1 team in the county and district all season and made school history with five senior starters in Emily McAteer, Brianne Borcky, Madi McKee, Morgan Falcone and Jill Nagy.

The Carroll girls were Delco’s last chance to salvage a victory and state bragging rights, but they met a District 7 beast by the name of Chartiers Valley Saturday night. While the Patriots hung around for three quarters, they couldn’t match up with Chartiers’ impressive combination of size and skill.

Chartiers Valley and Peters Township actually looked a lot alike. Both the Class 6A and 5A champions on the girls side come from the Pittsburgh area. And, quite frankly, they outplayed Delco’s best.

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Girl’s – Marisa, Peters Twp. too much for Jaguars

Garnet Valley’s Jill Nagy, left, tries to drive around slick Peters Twp. 6-1freshman Journey Thompson during the Jaguars loss Friday night in the PIAA Class 6A girls basketball championship game.
MARK PALCZEWSKI — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP


By Matt Smith

Brianne Borcky barely had the strength to speak the words.

“I don’t really have a voice,” she said.

The Garnet Valley senior fought through the pain to crack a smile and verbalize her feelings Friday night. The Jaguars’ record-setting season ended without a PIAA Class 6A championship.

“It stinks that it was this game, but I’m happy that we got this far,” said Borcky, who poured in a team-high 21 points in the 62-49 defeat to Peters Township. “I obviously would’ve wanted to win this, but I’m so happy we got this far. It was the best season we’ve had. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t win this last game.”

The District 1 champion Jaguars (30-2) set a program record for wins. They are the first team from Delaware County since Archbishop Carroll in 2009 to win that many games in a single season. Win No. 31 was not in the cards.

From the opening tip, the Jags had to battle. They trailed 11-2 out of the gate as unbeaten Peters Township (30-0) had its way running the floor and pressuring the Jags with a press defense.

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Girl’s – Jaguars’ trip, accomplishments worth celebrating

By Bob Grotz

The Garnet Valley girls got a royal sendoff Friday on their way to the PIAA Class 6A championship game at the Giant Center.

There were students at the high school waving good luck signs, teachers clapping and what’s this, a police and fire escort, sirens blaring to edge of Concord Township?

“It was great,” Jaguars senior Emily McAteer said. “It was nice to know everybody at Garnet Valley was behind us and rooting for us. The driver came a little late, so a bunch of students were waiting there for like 20 minutes. There were a bunch of kids outside, teachers. And then finally we got the escort. It was fun. It was great.”

The Jaguars deserved the VIP treatment. Deserving, on the other hand, had nothing to do with their 62-49 loss Friday to Peters Twp., a game in which they started slowly, fought to stay alive and just couldn’t get over the hump.

The 6A final matching two boundary teams was a rarity because the non-boundary teams – read, non-public school teams – basically can recruit because of relaxed open enrollment policies. Thus, the non-boundaries are killing it these days in district and state tournaments to the point where at least one state legislator wants changes. In the girls’ bracket, DeLone Catholic won the girls’ 3A championship. In 4A, it’s going to be Bethlehem Catholic or North Catholic. In 5A, Archbishop Carroll takes on Chartiers Valley. All non-boundary teams.

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Girl’s – Carroll determined to go distance this time in PIAA playoffs


By Matt Smith

Archbishop Carroll came a win short of making the PIAA Class 5A final a year ago.

The Patriots advanced to the semifinal round with many of the same players on this year’s team, including seniors Harlem Jennings and Mary DeSimone, junior Erin Sweeney and sophomore Karli Dougherty.

Today, the Catholic League and District 12 champions should play for the championship against District 7 champion Chartiers Valley. Tip off is 6 p.m. at the Giant Center in Hershey.

“You feel bad last year because that was such a great group of seniors, they were such a talented group and all,” Carroll coach Renie Shields said following the Patriots’ 39-32 overtime win over Southern Lehigh in the semifinals. “This team, with this group, to get this far is pretty incredible. Not much you can say, just keep playing hard.”

Jennings noted earlier in the season the Patriots were poised to win it all after capturing the Catholic League title last month. And they wanted to avenge last winter’s disappointing finish.

“We always felt we could go far, but winning the Catholic League was really important for us,” said Jennings, who transferred to Carroll from Bishop Guilfoyle in Altoona after her sophomore year. “We didn’t like the way we finished last season and we believed we fell short. We just are so focused on not coming up short again this year. Together we are really clicking out on the court and all the girls on the believe in the same thing.”

The Patriots are chasing the program’s third PIAA championship. The team won Class 3A titles in 2009 and 2012 under former coach Chuck Creighton. Shields was an assistant on those teams. Her daughter and assistant, Erin, was a star player on the 2009 team.

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Imhotep, whistles knock Bonner & Prendie off-balance in title game loss to Imhotep

Bonner & Prendie’s Isaiah Wong, right is fouled while shooting a three-point shot in the fourth quarter against Imhotep Thursday night. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Matthew DeGeorge

Throughout its run to the state finals, balance defined the Bonner & Prendergast offense. It wasn’t always Isaiah Wong or Tariq Ingraham, the two blue-chip headliners any opponent would list first on their scouting report, forced to provide most of the offensive production.

About the time that Wong, the reigning Daily Times player of the year, hoisted his second 26-foot 3-pointer of the third quarter for the trailing Friars Thursday, it was pretty clear that such balance had broken down. And as Bonner’s stars adhered to the extremes of the scoring spectrum, there was little that the Friars could do to dent Imhotep Charter’s dynasty.

Behind four double-figure scorers, the Panthers claimed their seventh state title in 11 seasons and third straight in Class 4A via a 67-56 victory in a whistle-marred final at Hershey’s Giant Center.

Wong did his part, with a game-high 29 points and seven rebounds. But he was one of five Friars to finish with four fouls each, as the referees lost the plot in the third quarter, whistling 11 fouls on Bonner in nine minutes, which robbed the high-flying rematch of the District 12 final from any sort of flow.

The raggedness was apparent early. The Friars (22-7) tried to force the ball to Ingraham in the post, but two first-quarter fouls meant he would have to sit for the last 10 minutes of the half.

“It was hard to establish a rhythm, everyone getting in foul trouble,” Wong said. “We were just trying to find another way to try to get a dub, but we couldn’t find another way today. I felt we did good as a team with the struggles we had.”

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Jaguars’ man-up promise to coach has proven successful

Photo by: Digital First Media

By Matt Smith

The five seniors that would comprise Garnet Valley’s starting lineup for the duration of the 2018-19 season made their coach a deal in November.

Coach Joe Woods’ veterans decided to put the onus on themselves. They believed they possessed talent, tenacity and the make-up, both physically and mentally, to take the program to new heights. By coming to Woods with a simple idea, the Jaguars set the bar for their season and legacy.

Let us play man-to-man defense, they told Woods, and you will not regret it. They did it all season, in every game, regardless of opponent. For years the Jaguars have played mostly zone defenses, or as Woods said recently, “it’s rare to have five players on the court who could play man the whole time,” and be very good at it.

Woods has never had a team like this, one in which he can set it and forget it. He has an unspeakable bond with his senior starters — guards Morgan Falcone and Jill Nagy, forwards Brianne Borcky, Emily McAteer and Madi McKee, all of whom have made good on their promise.

They challenged themselves in the fall, before the journey to a third Central League title in four years, and the program’s first District 1 championship. Now they are determined to leave together with a PIAA Class 6A championship Friday night in Hershey.

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