Garnet Valley coach Joe Woods said his team is very close-knit. The girls have held several pizza and pasta parties as ways to bring them closer together.
As the Jaguars were down by eight points, their biggest deficit of the night, early in the fourth quarter, all Woods could hear was his players’ rallying for each other, knowing they could come back.
Garnet Valley pulled off the comeback and defeated Council Rock North, 47-45, in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal on Friday at Norristown.
The Jaguars have made a lot of firsts this season. They improved to 29-1 overall, won their first district title, and advanced to the state semifinal for the first time in school history.
But Woods believes that the relationships off the court made a huge impact in the comeback victory.
“It’s all about family, friendships, and togetherness,” Woods said. “There’s no real -- which is hard sometimes because I’ve had some teams in the past -- jealousies. There’s no real worry about ‘I need to get my points.’ ”
The numbers prove that the Jaguars play as a team, and get contributions from everyone.
After Garnet Valley held a 28-25 lead at the half, Council Rock North hit three threes in the first minute of the second half. Senior Sydney Blum hit two of them and finished with 12 points.
The Jaguars didn’t regain the lead until senior forward Emily McAteer, the program’s all-time leading scorer, made a driving layup to give her team a 46-45 lead with a minute remaining.
Drexel recruit Brianne Borcky made a foul shot to give the Jaguars their two-point margin of victory.
The Indians came up empty on their final possession.
“When you’re up by eight points in the fourth quarter, you expect to win,” Council Rock North coach Lou Palkovics said. “There were a couple turnovers, but I don’t know if I would have done anything different or the girls would have done different."
Morgan Falcone led all scorers with 13 points, and had eight of them in the second half. She made two driving layups in the fourth quarter, and the second one preceded McAteer’s go-ahead bucket.
“It just shows we have more than one person that can play,” Falcone said. “We can’t rely on one person for scoring. The whole first half, they were trying to shut down Emily. It just shows when one person is being shut down, everybody else on our team can step up.”
After Garnet Valley was outscored, 18-8, in the third quarter, it didn’t allow a field goal in the fourth and outscored the Indians, 11-2, to win the game.
“I’m just proud of my players, my team, and my program,” Woods said, “and particularly for this group of seniors.”
The Jaguars will play Neshaminy on Monday with a trip to Hershey on the line.
Council Rock North 9 16 18 2 -- 47
Garnet Valley 10 18 8 11 -- 45
CRN: Dana Bandurick 13, Sydney Blum 12, Olivia Boyle 5, Anna Cairn 4, Abby Jones 4, Camryn Polinsky 7.