ROYERSFORD — The seniors on the Methacton girls basketball team had played Spring-Ford many times over the years with varying degrees of success. There had been blow-out games and there had been close ones.
The only constant along the way was that every game had ended up as a Warrior loss. But that all changed on Thursday night when Methacton broke an early tie with 10 straight points and stayed ahead the rest of the way in a 47-43 win, snapping Spring-Ford’s 41-game Pioneer Athletic Conference winning streak.
Kelly Glatthorn scored 19 points and Jenna Carroll 17 for Methacton (10-2, 16-5), which clinched a spot in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four playoffs while handing Spring-Ford (11-1, 15-5) its first league loss in the last three years. Sammy Stipa led the Rams with 18 points and Abby Beyer scored 11.
“The girls have been talking about this for years … the seniors, at least,” said Methacton coach Craig Kaminski. “For a change, we played a very composed game.”
And the Warriors did indeed play with composure and confidence throughout, even when the Rams closed to within a single point on four different occasions.
Glatthorn drove for a basket to open the night’s scoring and Stipa tied the score with two free throws two minutes into the contest.
But Stipa picked up her second personal foul shortly after that and went to the bench until late in the quarter. Methacton proceeded to run off 10 points in a row as Carroll scored off a rebound, Glatthorn scored on a break and wound up with a 3-point play, Ryan DeOrio made two at the line, and Carroll scored and was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and sank the free throw for a 12-2 advantage after a quarter
Then Stipa returned and sparked a Ram rally with nine points in the second quarter, including a 3-point bomb from well beyond the top of the circle that pulled the hosts to within 20-18 at the half.
Spring-Ford closed to within 22-21, 24-23, 31-30, and 33-32 in the third quarter, but the Warriors refused to fold.
“Usually, we come out and they come out stronger than us,” said Carroll. “Or they have runs where they come back on us.”
“When they pressured us, we took it,” added Glatthorn.
Glatthorn scored on a fast break that began with a steal by Carroll to make it 35-32 just seconds into the final quarter and Carroll hit a turnaround bank shot for a lead of five. The margin was up to 44-35 after Kara Steinke and Glatthorn connected on both ends of 1-and-1’s at the line with under two minutes to go. The closest the Rams could get after that was at 45-40 after an offensive rebound basket by Shelby Mueller (10 points). But by then, only 20 seconds remained.
“Methacton came to play,” said Ram coach Mickey McDaniel. “Craig had them well-prepared. I give all the credit to Methacton. Their girls played extremely hard. They hit the glass hard. They kept their poise. They did a great job staying with their game plan. We came back and we had a couple chances to take the lead. They’re a great team. We played a great team tonight.”
Kaminski thought that a key to the win was the Warriors’ ability to avoid damaging turnovers.
“Not allowing them to score off our mistakes,” he said. “Tonight we only had three turnovers that they scored on for six points.”
The Methacton coach also gave credit to his three seniors on the floor – Steinke, Glatthorn, and Carroll.
“Kara, Kelly, and Jenna have been the nucleus,” he said. “They played a great game and they were like coaches on the floor. Kara (5-for-6 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) played all 32 minutes. She’s an old-fashioned point guard. She gets a lot of credit for what we do.”
Before the game, the Spring-Ford seniors were honored and the PIAA Championship banner that the Rams won last year was unfurled.
But those festivities did not seem to intimidate the Warriors in the least.
“We took everything that was going on as motivation,” said Glatthorn. “We tried to stay calm.”
“I’m proud of them,” said Kaminski. “We came here on their Senior Night … their special night … in front of a decent crowd for a night game.”
Had the Warriors lost, they would have had to beat third-place Boyertown – a 45-26 winner over Perkiomen Valley – on Saturday night to avoid a possible play-in game.
“We wouldn’t have minded the pressure,” said Carroll. “But it was really nice to come in and get the win.”
“We wanted to take care of business tonight,” Kaminski added.
Spring-Ford had won 41 PAC-10 games in a row since a triple-overtime loss to Boyertown in the 2011 league playoff final. … The Warriors had a 31-20 rebounding advantage, including 12 boards by Carroll. … Mueller grabbed six rebounds and Amy Roth added five for the Rams. … Spring-Ford had 11 turnovers – none in the two middle quarters – and the Warriors had 18, but only four in the second half. … Glatthorn shot 6-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 from the floor and had three steals.