Late free-throws eliminate Unionville girls from PIAA tourney, 42-30
● By Richard Gaw
After the visiting Unionville Indians battled through three quarters in their opening round PIAA girls basketball playoff game on Feb. 14, Juenger Gymnasium at Haverford High School became the site of a free-throw shooting clinic in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Indians, it wasn't any of their players who were stepping to the line.
After entering the fourth quarter with a 25-24 lead, Unionville was defeated 42-30 on a fourth quarter where they were outscored 18-5 by Haverford, who also shot 9 for 13 from the free-throw line.
Seeded 17th in a crowded District 1 6A bracket of 24 teams, the Indians qualified for post-season play on the back of their 14-8 regular season record, and by all indications, they entered the Haverford game showing all of the signs of a team on the rise. They held the Fords to 8 points in the first quarter on the strength of their defense, limiting high-scorer Chiara MacGillivray to just two free throws, while knocking back 8 points of their own.
After MacGillivray's early free throws in the second quarter, Hannah Clancy's jumper with 5:48 left in the first half staked Haverford to a 12-8 lead that led to a time out by Unionville. After head coach Fred Ellzy regrouped the Indians, Alexia Brown's steal and bucket with 5:12 left cut the Ford's lead to 12-10. Soon after, the Indians tied the score on two free throws by Emma Dempsey, which was followed by a break-away layup and a jumper in the paint by Brown that gave Unionville a 16-12 lead.
On the other side of the court, Haverford took advantage of two missed scoring opportunities by Unionville to nail down 5 points that gave them a slim 17-16 lead at halftime.
A peek at the scoring ledger at halftime registered that Brown and Dempsey had accounted for all of Unionville's points, but as the second half began, Ellzy found help in the form of effective free-throw shooting from others. After MacGillivray's early three-pointer in the third quarter gave Haverford a 22-18 lead, two free-throws by Lyndsey Barrett cut the lead to two pints, which was followed by a steal and break-away layup by Brown, who was fouled on the shot and sank her free-throw to give the Indians a 23-22 lead.
After Ellzy called timeout with 53 second left in the quarter, Unionville's Lindsey Robbins was fouled on a drive, and calmly sank both free throws to give Unionville a 25-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter – and the eight minutes that effectively ended the Indians' otherwise successful season. The Fords were not just led by what happened for them at the charity stripe; an early three-pointer by Maddie Williams opened the scoring for Haverford, and four crucial points by Mollie Carpenter, the last of which gave her team a 33-28 lead that helped seal the victory. The loss ended the Indians' season and moved the Fords (15-9) to a second-round playoff game against No. 1 seed Plymouth Whitemarsh on Feb. 19.
Brown finished with a game-high 14 points, while Dempsey contributed 8 points for Unionville. The Fords were led by MacGillivray's 13 points and 8 points by Addison Brodnik.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.