Fast start helps St. Basil to district crown
Fifteen days of ballhandling drills. Fifteen days of wind sprints.
Fifteen days of free throws, shooting drills, and defensive slides.
According to junior Kate Skalski, that was the difference for St. Basil on Friday night, as the Panthers defeated Delco Christian, 47-28, to win the PIAA District 1 Class AA girls' basketball title at Villanova's Pavilion.
Entering the final, the Panthers hadn't played a game in 15 days, and in that period spent a lot of time getting better, especially on defense.
It's often hard to stay focused when games are few and far between, but in this case, the layoff only helped St. Basil.
"We went hard every day in practice, and that's why I think we won this game," Skalski said.
"Words can't even describe it," Skalski said of the title. "It's crazy."
St. Basil jumped out to a quick lead, getting three straight three-pointers to start the final. The Panthers dominated all aspects of the game in the first half, including rebounding, defending, and hustling. St. Basil hit five first-half treys, three coming from Skalski.
"I felt confident coming out from the beginning," said Skalski, who finished with a game-high 15 points.
With the score 25-6 at halftime, the outcome seemed inevitable, and the question wasn't if the Panthers would win, but by how much.
The Knights, however, had something else on their minds.
If the Panthers (17-8) started the game with the hot hand, then the Knights (21-6) heated up the second half, going on a 10-1 run to open the third quarter.
Stacey MacArthur ignited the Knights' offensive surge, scoring 12 third-period points.
After they saw their lead shrink to six in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Panthers reverted to their dominant ways, turning up the pressure on defense and forcing turnovers.
"Before the worry set in, we knew to settle down, call a timeout and gather ourselves and went back out there with the same intensity we started with," said junior Holly Forst, who added 10 points.
The Panthers will continue their season in the PIAA state tournament, facing the second-place team from District 2.
And after a long layoff didn't do much to affect the Panthers' play, they are in luck - the first round of states is a week away.
Delco Christian 2 4 18 4 – 28
St. Basil 15 10 7 15 – 47
DC: Stacey MacArthur 12, Anna Evans 6, Jamie Barr 4, Victoria Eppright 2, Jocelyn Chavous 2, Siani McNeil 2.
SB: Kate Skalski 15, Holly Forst 10, Kalee Fuegel 7, Molly Greenberg 6, Karen Lapkiewicz 6, Sarah Wilson 3.
Contact Kate Harman at email@example.com.