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Getting over the hump

For two basketball teams, the road to Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center begins with opening-round action at the PIAA state tournament.

By Bill Gelman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 11, 2010

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Junior Nyderra Lee, left, is one of five All-Public selections for the 20-5 Prep Charter Lady Huskies who lost to Central in last week’s Public League championship contest.

Photo by Amanda Thurlow

While many of the area high school girls’ basketball teams have turned in their uniforms, the Prep Charter Lady Huskies were hard at work this week making final preparations for Saturday’s PIAA Class AAA opening-round contest against Malvern-based Villa Maria Academy.

Making the field is a yearly routine for the squad at 1928 Point Breeze Ave. Unfortunately, so is getting eliminated in the first round. The Lady Huskies are hoping their luck changes 3:30 p.m. Saturday when the opposition rolls into the South Philadelphia High gymnasium, 2101 S. Broad St. The two schools met in a December non-league match with Villa Maria winning, 52-25.

After getting crushed by Archbishop Carroll, 59-35 in last week’s District 12 Class AAA City title game, one might doubt the Lady Huskies chances of advancing. But coach Paul Reiser said the big thing for his 20-5 squad is putting the lopsided defeat behind them.

“It wasn’t hard to turn the page because they’re the defending state champions,” the coach said of Carroll.

He noted the upside is Prep Charter faced a team that plays the same slow-down tempo as Villa Maria. The Lady Huskies, on the other hand, play at more of an up-tempo pace.

“It’s a matter of who dictates the tempo,” the coach said of Saturday’s match. “This time I think we are in a better position to play well.”

A victory would certainly be a huge confidence boost for Prep Charter, especially for a squad that opened the season down three starters as a result of transfer and injuries.

“The girls have never stopped working hard,” Reiser said. “I think we’ve overachieved considering we lost three starters.”

The girls have put together another solid run that included a second-straight trip to the March 2Public League championship. Like last year, they fell to Central, 45-38. The contest was tied 34-34 with 1:32 remaining.

Individually, seniors Lashay Banks and Robyn Harcum, juniors Tiffany Johnson and Nyderra Lee, along with sophomore Erica Smith-Sowell each received All-Public recognition.

 

The Neumann-Goretti boys’ basketball team is ready to embark on its own mission of earning the final piece of the championship trifecta — the PIAA Class AAA state title. Last season, the squad at 10th and Moore streets won Catholic League and City crowns, but fell in the state quarterfinals. The nationally ranked Saints — rated No. 10 by USA Today — defeated Dobbins 75-44 Friday to claim a second-straight City crown.

Neumann-Goretti opens state tournament play 7 p.m. tomorrow against District 3’s Susquehanna Township at Archbishop Ryan, 11201 Academy Road With a victory, the 25-1 squad will advance to Tuesday’s second round.

Contact Managing Editor Bill Gelman at bgelman@southphillyreview.com or ext. 123.

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