Weatherly gets revenge in PIAA tourney
Weatherly’s Megan Peifer tries to get to a loose ball ahead of The Christian Academy’s Glory Wells, while teammate Ashley James looks on. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
POTTSTOWN — Weatherly head coach Kevin Kringe thought about it all summer.
Did he come into last year’s PIAA tournament with the right game plan? Could he have made some adjustments? Last year’s loss to The Christian Academy stuck with him all offseason.
But on Saturday, Kringe and the Wreckers were able to avenge that loss from last winter. Weatherly closed the game on a 19-0 spurt to hand that same The Christian Academy team a 64-41 loss in the first round of the PIAA Class A tournament at Pottstown High School.
“This stuck in my craw all summer and all spring,” Kringe said. “You know, you go back and look at the film and I second guess things. I knew I just wanted to be aggressive tonight no matter (what) ... I said to myself all summer that if we get a chance to play them again, I’m going to be as aggressive as I can be until the cows come home.”
While the Wreckers (17-8) were aggressive with their pressure all game long, The Christian Academy, the District 1 runner-up, trimmed an 11-point lead to just four points in the fourth quarter. After Drasia Speaks hit a three-pointer to get the Crusaders within 42-38, a rebound and put back from Britney Dike kept it a four-point deficit moments later with 3:55 to play.
But that’s as close as The Christian Academy got. Weatherly’s defense forced the Crusaders into countless turnovers down the stretch.
Grace Miller scored on a put back moments later to push Weatherly’s lead to 47-41. Lindsey Hoffman then stole an inbound pass and finished with a fast break layup for an eight-point advantage. Hoffman, who had a game-high 24 points, then hit the final of her six three-pointers in the right corner with 2:12 to play, pushing the Wreckers’ lead back to double digits.
“They were box-and-one trying to take Emily [Zoscin] away, and to Emily’s credit she was the one screening on the bottom for Lindsey and getting her loose,” Kringe said. “I always love when she shoots. I get mad when she doesn’t shoot.”
“I’m really happy because they were the team that kicked us out last year,” Hoffman said. “We knew we had to get them back this year and get revenge from last year.”
The Wreckers would hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Zoscin hit seven of her eight attempts in the fourth quarter alone.
The Christian Academy (19-6) got off to a fast start, in particular guard Grace Gormley. Gormley scored the Crusaders’ first eight points as they led 8-3.
“We let [Gormley] get loose right off the bat, and I’m like, ‘We just concentrated on her for three or four days,’” Kringe said. “And she goes off right in the beginning, which kind of got us back on our heels. But I said in the locker room if we can just make one run and give us a little breathing room ... we’ll slowly wear them down.”
But Weatherly withstood that fast start and made a run of its own. The Wreckers took a 15-12 lead after the first quarter in large part because of two three-pointers from both Hoffman and Megan Peifer.
Hoffman and Abby Hernandez each hit another from long range in the second quarter as the Wreckers’ lead grew to as many as 11 points. The Christian Academy got within three points in the third quarter before cutting into Weatherly’s lead late.
“I don’t usually shoot that many,” Pfeifer said. “We usually make a lot as a team. We focus a lot on the three, and driving to the basket and getting fouled for the most part. We rely on our press for a lot of stuff.”
Zoscin added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Peifer finished with 13 points.
WHO’S UP NEXT? ... Weatherly advances to the second round of the PIAA Class A tournament against District 4’s No. 4 seed Benton, which defeated Lancaster Country Day in the first round. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Bloomsburg University. “I want to be here all the time, so this is another check mark on our box,” Kringe said. “You get one and you want to get another. You want to win and advance. There are only eight teams left in the east. And we are one of the eight.”
A LONG TIME COMING ... The win was Weatherly’s first state victory in over 30 years, and its first under Kringe.
IT’S RAINING THREES ... Weatherly attempted 24 shots from three-point range, making nine of those attempts.
THE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Gormley 6-4-8-18, Cryan 2-2-4-6, Dike 3-2-7-8, Speaks 3-1-2-8, Wells 0-0-0-0, Jones 0-0-0-0, Burley-Chana 0-1-2-2. TOTALS: 14-10-16-41.
Zoscin 5-8-12-18, Hinkle 2-3-4-5, Hoffman 8-2-2-24, Peifer 5-1-4-13, Hernandez 1-0-0-3, Miller 1-0-0-2, James 1-0-0-2, K. Jones 0-0-0-0, Strouse 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-14-22-64.
TCA 12 11 9 10 - 41
Weatherly 15 13 9 27 - 64
Three-pointers: The Christian Academy - Gormley 2, Speaks 1; Weatherly - Hoffman 6, Peifer 2, Hernandez 1.