Unionville loses nail-biter to Bishop Shanahan, 46-42
01/31/2017 10:45AM ● Published by Richard Gaw
Watching the scrappy and talented Unionville girls’ basketball team take a seven-point lead into last Friday’s game against visiting Bishop Shanahan – only to see it slip away during an eventual 46-42 defeat – calls to mind a quote from perhaps the greatest basketball coach who ever lived.
“Control of your organization begins with control of yourself,” said John Wooden. “Be disciplined.”
Whether or not Coach Fred Ellzy’s squad squandered the lead they had for most of the game had anything to do with a sudden loss of discipline matters very little, but the absolute truth of their heartbreaking loss on Jan. 27 clicked itself off slowly as the fourth quarter began – a quarter where the Eagles outscored the Indians, 25-14, mostly on the backs of Courtney Warley and Sammie McCarter, who poured in 11 and 8 points, respectively. As the closing seconds of the loss put Warley on the line to connect on both free throws to seal her team’s win, the narrative of what gave Bishop Shanahan the win began to play itself back, in slow rewind.
If the primary goal of Unionville was to keep Warley from scoring, then the goal was achieved spectacularly – at least for the game’s first three quarters. Behind a tough defense led by Sophia Detweiler and Sam Ciccarelli, Bishop Shanahan guards rarely broke the defensive wall to get the ball into their center, and when they did, Warley was surrounded by the front court of Maddie Shanahan and Grace Schrof, who held Warley to a scoreless first half.
After a low-scoring first quarter that began the second quarter in a 5-5 tie, both teams tried to peck away at tough opposing defenses. A three-pointer by McCarter gave Bishop Shanahan an 8-7 lead early in the second quarter, which was quickly answered by a basket by Unionville’s Olivia Budow in the paint with 6:20 left in the half. With 5:40 remaining in the first half, Unionville broke a tough full-court press by finding Schrof for a layup, which led to a foul and a three-point play that gave the Indians a 12-9 lead. A minute later, another Schrof basket extended the Indians’ lead to 14-9, which was followed by two free throws by Unionville’s Meghan Megill.
In the third quarter, Shanahan and Schrof took over the direction of the game, scoring all of Unionville’s 12 points, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers, and Shanahan’s driving layup that gave the Indians a 26-19 lead with 3:25 left. At one point in the fourth quarter – with seven minutes to go in the game, to be precise – Unionville had built up a 33-23 lead, on a layup by Shanahan and, on its next possession, a three-pointer by Schrof.
At the 4:45 mark, two free throws by Sarah Covert had even extended the Indians’ lead to 37-26, but it was at about this time that Warley began to emerge from a three-quarter shell and ignite her team’s comeback. She had help; baskets by Jen Sendi and McCarter cut Unionville’s lead to 37-30 with four minutes remaining, and after a Ciccarelli free throw, McCarter’s three-pointer from the top of the key gave Bishop Shanahan to further cut into a slim, five-point Unionville lead.
A full-court press by Bishop Shanahan led to a steal and a three-pointer by Sendi that cut Unionville’s lead to 38-36. A Warley free throw – one of five she made in the quarter – trimmed the lead to 38-37, and with 2:39 left in the game, Warley’s shot in the paint gave the Eagles the lead, 39-38.
Fouled on a shot attempt with 1:38 left, Schrof made two free throws to give her team a one-point lead, but with 1:18 remaining, Warley was fouled on a layup, and made two free throws that gave the lead back to Bishop Shanahan.
After Unionville turned the ball over on its next possession, Kathryn Greenhut was fouled with 36 seconds left in the game, and made one of two free throws to extend Bishop Shanahan’s lead to 42-40. A couple of free throws by McCarter made the score 44-40, and with 6.8 second left, Ciccarelli’s layup put Unionville down by two, but the game ended on Warley’s last two free throws with four seconds remaining.
Now sporting a 10-7 overall record, Bishop Shanahan was led by Warley with 15 points, and McCarter with 13 points. The Eagles travel to West Chester East for a Feb. 7 game. Led by Schrof’s 19 points and Shanahan’s 11 points, the loss gave Unionville a 10-7 overall record. The Indians traveled to Bayard Rustin for a Jan. 31 game, and will stay on the road for a Feb. 3 game at Great Valley.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.