ROYERSFORD >> In their final game of their Central League season, Radnor’s girls’ basketball team allowed a season-high 75 points in an embarrassing 32-point defeat. Following that game, they had 10 days to stew before beginning district play Tuesday night against Pope John Paul II. It was clear from the get-go that Radnor spent the time working on that defense. Playing their district opener on the road, the Raiders ran out to an 18-2 lead early and never looked back, topping Pope John Paul II, 62-45, in a District 1-5A first round game.
The Raiders (14-8) advance to Friday’s second round, where they’ll try their hands against top-seeded and undefeated West Chester Henderson, who advanced with a win over Lower Moreland. If they can duplicate Tuesday’s complete performance, it may be Henderson with their hands full. Offensively, the Raiders shot 68 percent (17-25) from the foul line and registered assists on 15 of their 22 field goals. Defensively, the Raiders were dominant early and often, forcing nine first-quarter turnovers and running out to an early 18-2 lead on the strength of 10 points from sophomore Ellie Mueller. Starting center Holly Holtsberg added an early putback and shut down PJP’s inside game with three blocks and several rebounds.
“Defense was a huge emphasis,” said Mueller. “We had time to work, time to prepare and really study our opponents.
“We switched from man to zone and back to man, and I think that allowed us to create some of the turnovers.”
The second quarter was more of the same. After Grace Cobaugh’s three-point play gave the Panthers life in the early going, Radnor went on another 10-2 run, taking a 32-11 lead into the break. By the end of the half, Radnor had limited the Panthers to four field goals and frustrated PJP into 15 turnovers.
“We saw they were quick, we wanted to get out on their shooters,” said Radnor coach Mark Jordan. “Springfield hit 13 threes on us last game—can’t have that happen again. We didn’t let their shooters get many good looks tonight.”
The Panthers showed life in third quarter, cutting Radnor’s lead as low as 14 behind 10 points from Kayla Mesaros, but the Raiders would again turn to their suffocating defense to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Mueller would finish with 20 points, establishing herself as the team’s go-to finisher on the inside and outside. Her eight field goals included the Raiders’ only 3-pointer of the night.
Click HERE to read the full article.