By: Alec Eskin
The Garnet Valley Lady Jaguars were set to face off against the number one team in the Central League in the Haverford Fords. The Fords had beaten the Jaguars in their first two matchups in close fashion, one on a go ahead three by Sky Newman at Garnet Valley and another at Haverford as the Fords won by seven. Garnet Valley would be tasked with guarding one of the best centers in the Central League in Caroline Dotsey as well as Maddie Williams and McKenna Carpenter. For both teams, the stakes were very high and a win would send one of the to the Central League Championship game. It has been said that it is hard to beat a team three times, and that saying held true today as Garnet Valley was able to beat Haverford away in strong fashion as the Jaguars won by a final score of 36-22. This was arguably one of Garnet Valley’s toughest wins this year and the did it in great fashion.
The first quarter came out with both teams getting points on their first possessions, but this would be a red herring of what the game would become. Emily Olsen scored Garnet Valley’s six of Garnet Valley’s ten points in the quarter. She was able to work her way into the paint and use the fading midrange jumper to get her buckets. Garnet Valley’s defense was stout and Haverford could not get many open shots. On Haverford’s side, Maddie Williams started off the game with a three and Dotsey added on two more with a cutback reverse layup. They focused their defense on the perimeter to start off the game. For both teams, there were a lot of turnovers to start off the game and no one was able to gain traction on offense.
The second quarter was one of the lowest if not the lowest scoring quarter for both teams. Garnet Valley only got three points (all from Haylie Adamski) and Haverford only had two points. It was a quarter where both teams were able to play some of the best defense they had all year, but another part of the reason this quarter was so low scoring was that both teams did not have great shot selection and were both turning over the ball. Haverford made their first and only shot with 6:39 left to go in the second and Garnet Valley with about five seconds left. Emily Olsen and Katelyn Dugery were able to Contain Dotsey and Carpenter in the paint for the second and third quarters. For as much as they did offensively today, their defense may have silently stole the show. Ava Possenti and Haylie Adamski were able to control the perimeter and were both stealing the ball as well as causing turnovers. Haverford also got very good out of Maddie Williams and Aniya Eberhart, who also did not allow anything from beyond the arc.
The third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game as Garnet Valley outscored Haverford 10-2 which included a 6-0 run by the Jaguars. The scoring for this quarter was a collective effort by Dugery, Olsen, DiSabatino, and Possenti. For Haverford, the defense was able to keep the game within arms reach, but put themselves in a rock and a hard place. The Fords were trying to work it in the paint to Dotsey and Carpenter, but Olsen and Dugery kept denying them those looks.
The fourth quarter saw the Haverford offense finally start to get going with a three from Williams and Walsh as well a few buckets from Dotsey which pulled them to within seven with 5:33 left to go in the game. However, Garnet Valley got clutch shots from Adamski and Mulholland to give them an 11 point lead which dashed any momentum that Haverford had and put the game away.
The story for the Jaguars was not the same as it had been in recent weeks. They relied more on their defense than their offense and in the process held Haverford to their second lowest scoring total of the year. Also, Haylie Adamski while she did not lead the team in scoring filled up the stat sheet as she finished with seven points, one assist, four rebounds, two steals, and one block. Olsen led the Jaguars in scoring with ten points, and added on five rebounds as well as a steal. Then, Ava Possenti had nine points, two steals, one rebound, and on assist. Katelyn Dugery had three points, five rebounds, and three steals, one of her best games on the defensive end all year. DiSabatino had there points, one assist, and two rebounds. Lastly, Kylie Mulholland had one four points, one assist, and three rebounds off the bench. This was a collective effort today from the Jaguars and they have been red hot as of late, winning 12 of their last 14 games.
For Haverford, they had a seven gamer winning streak snapped after today’s game. They were able to play their usual strong defense but could not get things going on offense due to a strong Garnet Valley defense. Haverford was able to get some good defensive performances out of Williams, Dotsey, and Eberhart. On offense, Williams was able to go two of four from beyond the arc. They had been playing well coming into today’s game and are also the nine seed in District One. They will be a force in Districts with all the talent they have. Their next game will be at home against Kennett on Friday.
The next game for Garnet Valley will be on Monday in the Central League Championship game against Marple Newtown before they get ready for Districts. They will play at Ridley on Monday at 7:00 PM. Garnet Valley is looking to bring the Central League crown back to Garnet Valley for the first time since 2019. Marple just upset Springfield overtime today as they will look to finish off their run in the Central League playoffs with a win as well. Two red hot teams going at it in one of the biggest games of the year, this should be a good one to watch.