Armstrong’s emer­gence was in­stru­men­tal in Bears’ ti­tle run

The Boyertown Area Times - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

Dur­ing the first cou­ple years of her high school bas­ket­ball ca­reer, she was com­monly known as ‘the other Katie Armstrong’ across the Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

Yet all sea­son long, Boy­er­town se­nior Katie Armstrong has been mak­ing a name for her­self. Wed­nes­day night served as an­other sig­na­ture per­for­mance as the Bears cap­tured their sec­ond Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in the past three sea­sons with a 47-44 win over Methac­ton.

Fit­tingly, Armstrong cut down the net and held up the cham­pi­onship plaque on the same court that Perkiomen Val­ley grad and cur­rent Saint Joseph’s Univer­sity fresh­man KT Armstrong used to call home.

“As a sopho­more, I got called up to play one of my first var­sity games here,” re­called Armstrong of Perkiomen Val­ley High School. “Dur­ing pregame in­tros, the an­nouncer said ‘Katie Armstrong for Boy­er­town.’ Then later, it was ‘KT Armstrong for Perk Val­ley.’

“I still re­mem­ber, she (KT Armstrong) turned to me dur­ing the game and said ‘So, you’re the other Katie Armstrong.’ That was a re­ally cool mo­ment for both of us to be on the court at the same time.”

Armstrong needed no fur­ther in­tro­duc­tions Wed­nes­day night.

Just a few days af­ter spark­ing the Bears with eight over­time points dur­ing their PAC semi­fi­nal win over Spring-Ford on Satur­day, the Boy­er­town se­nior showed no signs of slow­ing down.

Armstrong was in­stru­men­tal in the early go­ing, wreak­ing havoc on the de­fen­sive end while help­ing push top-seeded Boy­er­town to an early 21-3 ad­van­tage over No. 3 seeded Methac­ton just two min­utes into the sec­ond quar­ter. She fin­ished the first quar­ter with four steals — in­clud­ing a beau­ti­ful pick-pocket at mid­court where she then found a streak­ing Vic­to­ria Boal­ton for two to cap an 8-0 run at the start — to go along with two as­sists and a pair of blocks.

Quite a tran­si­tion, con­sid­er­ing how far she’s come since she first landed on the var­sity ros­ter her sopho­more year.

“As a sopho­more and as a ju­nior, we didn’t get her on the court that much and that was frus­trat­ing,” said Boy­er­town head coach Ja­son Bieber. “We al­ways knew the po­ten­tial she had, but we just couldn’t find ways to get her on the court.

“She’s the rea­son we can have suc­cess now. She steps up in so many dif­fer­ent ways — mak­ing a pass, get­ting a re­bound or hit­ting a big three. She’s been there.”

On this par­tic­u­lar night, Armstrong’s play was in­stru­men­tal, es­pe­cially when stand­out for­ward Abby Kapp got her­self into foul trou­ble dur­ing the first half. Man­ning the low-post, Armstrong fin­ished with a team-high 12 points, in­clud­ing a 4-for-7 ef­fort from the field.

She knocked down a clutch 3-pointer early in the fourth quar­ter amid Methac­ton’s 15-6 run where the War­riors re­fused to go down qui­etly. Se­nior Ryan DeOrio and fresh­man Syd­ney Tor­netta were elec­tric dur­ing the fourth quar­ter, com­bin­ing for 11 of the War­riors’ 14 points in the frame as Methac­ton roared back and gained its first lead at 39-38 on DeOrio’s and-one bas­ket. For the night, DeOrio scored a game-high 17 points while Tor­netta had 16 points and fin­ished 3-for-4 from the free throw line.

But the night be­longed to Armstrong and the Bears.

Cling­ing on to a two-point lead with just 1.8 sec­onds left, Armstrong earned her­self a trip to the free-throw line where she knocked down the game’s fi­nal point.

“Her ef­fort all year has been there,” said Bieber. “Katie knows her role. She knows what she needs to do out there for us to be suc­cess­ful. I think that re­ally showed tonight. She stepped up and played huge.”

Af­ter cut­ting down the nets her sopho­more sea­son, then watch­ing a KT Amrstrong-led Perkiomen Val­ley do the same the fol­low­ing sea­son, Katie Armstrong de­scribed Wed­nes­day night as the sweetest win yet.

“It was fun, it was def­i­nitely spe­cial win­ning this my sopho­more year,” said Armstrong, “but to come back here and do this my se­nior year, it’s a whole dif­fer­ent thing. We knew this was our last chance to do it.”

Although the name Katie Armstrong may not one day dan­gle from the Boy­er­town rafters the way KT Armstrong’s does at Perkiomen Val­ley, the se­nior cer­tainly put her sig­na­ture on the Bears’ cham­pi­onship run this sea­son.

SAM STE­WART - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Katie Armstrong goes up for a layup as Methac­ton’s Ryan DeOrio (3), Syd­ney Thomp­son (33) and Ni­cole Cooper de­fend.

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