Spring-Ford’s magical run falls just short

Spring-Ford’s girls basketball team played tough but couldn’t get past North Allegheny in the state championship game.

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The Spring-Ford girls basketball team lost a tough 55-40 game against North Allegheny in the state championship Friday night.

John Zawislak, Sports Editor

Anytime the Spring-Ford girls’ basketball team had fallen behind this season, it always felt as if they were going to catch right back up. 

Whether it was a Lucy Olsen three-point play, a corner 3 from Abbey Boyer, or a strong defensive play from Emily Tiffan, Spring-Ford was able to withstand almost any run from any team and make an overwhelming one of their own. 

Unfortunately, for the first time all season, the Rams never were able to find a run to put them ahead against a strongly coached and disciplined North Allegheny team in the PIAA 6A State Championship Game, falling 55-40 at Hershey’s Giant Center on Friday night.

Arriving in Hershey for the first time in seven years, the Rams’ knew they would face a very strong North Allegheny team, and that the Tigers would be no pushover led by seniors Lizzy Groetsch, a University of Pennsylvania commit, and Paige Morningstar, a Louisville volleyball commit. The Tigers are not just a senior led team though, as the Tigers’ boasted sophomore Jasmine Timmerson who possesses offers from Division One schools such as Robert Morris, Michigan St., and many others.

The Rams were able to battle back and forth with the Tigers after a three-point play from Olsen to tie the game halfway through the first quarter, but the Tigers caught fire from beyond the arc, with 3’s from Groetsch, Morningstar and Cam Phillips to take a lead of 17-11 after the first quarter. The deficit tasked the Rams with something they’ve had to do very little of all year — chase.

Spring-Ford was able to rally and battled back, especially after Groetsch was charged with her third foul in the second quarter and was forced to sit. The Rams’ were within a possession numerous times in the quarter, but the Tigers were able to keep the lead by doing what they did the entire game. They weathered runs and were able to hit significant shots to keep Spring-Ford at arm’s length no matter who was on the court. Making some shots late, SF found themselves trailing at the half, 24-21.

Coming out of the first half, the Rams were looking to build off of their late run in the second  quarter. Spring-Ford had multiple possessions to open the half to tie the game, but the Rams weren’t able to capitalize. A North Allegheny transition 3 made it a 6-point game early in the third. Olsen found her third foul early in the third quarter as well, and the game seemed to be slipping from the Rams’ grasp as they trailed 38-31 heading into the final quarter of the season.

Spring-Ford faced a tall task trying to pull off an epic comeback in the fourth quarter, but unfortunately the Tigers were able to stand strong and hold the lead with huge shots from Morningstar, who got 11 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter. Groetsch also overwhelmed the Spring-Ford defense, as she finished with 22 points in her final high school game.

While the Rams didn’t have their best shooting performance, they still got great games from Olsen and Tiffan. Olsen led the team with 18 points, Tiffan finished with 11 points, and freshman Anna Azzara was also able to add 5 points.

Obviously the loss was a gut-wrenching way to go out, but it is important to remember that only one team can win the state title. For Spring-Ford, despite the disappointing ending, they certainly had a season that should be celebrated and remembered quite fondly.