HOLLAND — Despite a furious third-quarter comeback that got them within three points, Unionville Higb School’s girls basketball team could not hold off the higher-seeded Council Rock South team, losing the opening game of the Distrct 1 playoffs, Saturday.
The Golden Hawks ran out to a 13-4 first quarter lead, as Indians Head Coach Anthony Zambino described his squad as having some “jitters.” It didn’t help that Council Rock South was able to hit early outside jumpers against Unionville’s zone — a defense deployed to stop star scorer Alex Wheatley. Zambino switched a man defense, mixed with some zone press, after the game started 9-2. From there, the Indians seemed to find their balance, played the Golden Hawks even in the second quarter, looked ready to make their move in the second half, which they started trailing 23-14.
In that third quarter, Unionville made it clear they would not go quietly, disrupting Council Rock’s offense with more pressing and managed to close within 30-27 going into the final quarter.
Wheatley, the Golden Hawks’ star center, hit a short corner jumper to increase the lead early in the fourth quarter. Unionville continued using fouls eventually getting toseven early in the final period to put the Golden Hawks on the line. The Indians could not draw the same number of fouls as the Golden Hawks and the difference proved definitive. Unionville had drawn just one foul when CRS went into the bonus — meaning virtually every foul call meant a trip to the line for the Golden Hawks. And Counil Rock made those trips count. Wheatley, who scored 12 points in the final quarter, after Susie Pancoast — who was excellent in limiting the star’s inside scoring — fouled out. Wheatley hit 6 of 6 foul shots and her teammates hit 6 of 6 totaling 12 free throws from the one and one bonus in the fourth quarter — and that made all the difference.
For the Indians, Cami Redfern hit three three pointers (two in the third quarter) and Kelsey McDonald had eight points. Susie Pancoast held Alex Wheatley to seven points through the third period before fouling out with 2:33 seconds left. Wheatley had a game high 19 points (7-7 from foul line and 12 fourth quarter points)