Late comeback propels Great Valley to a win over Unionville
By Steven Hoffman
When Unionville forward Emma Dempsey hit a three-pointer with 7:17 left to play in the game against Great Valley last Thursday night, there was every chance that that shot—which gave the Indians a five-point lead—could have been a catalyst for the home team to close out a victory against a very good Ches-Mont League opponent.
Instead, the Patriots did what good teams do—they rose up to meet the challenge. Rather than allowing Unionville to build momentum off Dempsey’s three-pointer, Great Valley pushed the ball up the court and Gracen Curley knocked down a three-pointer of her own. This was followed by a quick score on a floating jump shot by Emma DeRobertis. In less than one minute, Great Valley wiped out Unionville’s lead—and reclaimed the momentum.
From that point on, Great Valley outscored the Indians by a margin of 13-9 to walk away with a hard-fought 44-40 win. Tessa Liberatoscioli scored 9 of Great Valley’s points down the stretch, including some clutch free throws.
The two teams were evenly matched throughout the game. Unionville and Great Valley were both slow to warm up offensively—they combined for just 11 points in the first quarter, but that had more to do with the fact that both teams were working hard defensively, contesting passes and blocking shots, rather than a sign of weakness on offense.
For Unionville, guard Casey Baughan turned in several nice, hustling plays that helped disrupt Great Valley’s efforts to set up a good shot. Unionville can always count on key contributions from Baughan, forward Lyndsey Barrett, and center Anna Iacocca, the three senior starters on the squad who also serve as the team’s captains. All three delivered during the game against Great Valley.
It was a basket by Iacocca that gave her team an 8-5 lead early in the second quarter. A few minutes later, however, Curley hit a three-pointer for Great Valley. Curley finished with a game-high 17 points. Great Valley built a seven-point lead in the second quarter, but the advantage was brief. Iacocca hit a jumper from the top of the key. Barrett then made a nice defensive play to prevent a shot. Lindsey Robbins made a nice move to the hoop for a basket late in the second quarter, and Baughan scored a basket with 20 seconds to play in the second quarter to trim Great Valley’s lead to 15-14 at the end of the second quarter.
Unionville’s surge in the third quarter was boosted by Iacocca, who poured in baskets on consecutive trips down the floor. She finished the game with 10 points.
Alexia Brown and Robbins gave the Indians good minutes off the bench. Each one contributed big baskets in the third quarter. Robbins finished the game with 6 points.
Unionville led by as many as 6 points—that lead came following a lay-up by Iacocca late in the third quarter—but every Unionville surge was met by a similar one by Great Valley. Similarly, every time it looked like Great Valley would pull away, Unionville answered back. The Indians led by a point with about four minutes to play when Dempsey hit a free throw. She finished the game with a team-high 14 points.
But Liberatoscioli hit a free throw, contributed a lay-up, and then hit two more free throws to give Great Valley the lead while Unionville struggled to get off a good shot in the game’s final moments.
With just under ten seconds to play, Dempsey drove to the basket and scored for Unionville, drawing a foul in the process. She hit the free throw, cutting the Great Valley lead to 44-40 with just 8.4 seconds to play. That was the last score of the game, however, as the Patriots sealed the victory.
Unionville has games coming up against Kennett on Jan. 9 and Sun Valley on January 14. The Indians will have a chance to take on Great Valley again on Jan. 28. That game will be played at Great Valley.