Sub Ariana Magazzolo makes pivotal plays late as Spring-Ford rallies past Methacton.
Sub Ariana Magazzolo makes pivotal plays late for defending PAC champs
FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Ariana Magazzolo hadn’t seen one of her shots fall through the hoop Wednesday, and by her calculations this one didn’t seem net bound.
“I overshot it. I was not expecting it to go in,” the Spring-Ford senior guard said. “I thought it was going over (the basket) out of bounds.” But that was not its fate. Magazzolo’s jumper from the top of the key was slightly overshot, but with three or four friendly bounces on the iron before a swish, Spring-Ford’s narrow one-point lead was now three. In the Rams’ next possession, Magazzolo found Lucy Olsen on a pretty backdoor cut that effectively sealed Spring-Ford’s come-from-behind 4136 win over host Methacton Wednesday night.
Those pivotal baskets with two minutes remaining capped a second half where Spring-Ford buckled down after trailing by nine at halftime, 2617. The Rams ratcheted up their defense and forced a slew of steals while the Warriors couldn’t ride the wave after halftime, held to only 10 points in the final 16 minutes.
Sophomore guard Olsen, one of two returning Mercury All-Area first team selections from a year ago, scored a game-high 15 points and crucially kickstarted the SpringFord offense in the third quarter with five points. Senior forward Olivia Olsen and senior guard Cassie Marte added eight and seven points, respectively.
Defending Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Spring-Ford improved to 2-0 in the early going while Wednesday’s when will count as a key Pioneer Athletic Conference victory against arguably the leader of the chase pack in Methacton. It was Methacton’s first defeat after a 3-0 start that included a championship in their tip-off tournament last weekend.
Junior forward Sydney Hargrove scored a team-best 14 points, followed by freshman Nicole Timko (8) and Caroline Pellicano (6).
After last year’s impressive 24-5 season that featured a league title and trip to the PIAA Championships, expectations are elevated for the Rams.
“We always practice our hardest, our coaches push us and we push each other. We know what people are saying about us so we want to live up to that and show people they aren’t wrong,” Magazzolo said. “It’s a blessing (to have high expectations) though kind of nerve-wracking. But you just go into games and play as hard as you can and love the pressure.”
There was definitely pressure down nine after the Warriors won the second quarter 15-5. But Spring-Ford stormed back in the third and regained the lead on an Olivia Olsen jumper with 1:42 left in the frame.
Spring-Ford’s lead stayed around five until a Hargrove basket assisted by Sydney Tornetta got Methacton within 35-34, a prelude to Magazzolo and the Rams’ pivotal plays.
Though Magazzolo scored only two points, the senior reserve was crucial in crunch time and took on ballhanding duties in the big moments.
“‘A’ was key,” coach Mickey McDaniel said. “She came in and we moved Lucy off the ball. She did a really nice job controlling the tempo for us.”
“When my team needs me, I’m ready to step up and play as hard as I can,” Magazzolo said. “I’ve been practicing as hard as I can and playing against my good teammates to get better myself and make them better.”
NOTES >> Spring-Ford senior forward Abby Goodrich reaggravated a knee injury in pregame and did not play.
Spring-Ford’s Olvia Olsen, left, and Ariana Magazzolo (15) double-team Methacton’s Nicole Timko.
Methacton’s Abby Penjuke, center, reacts after her baseline pass is kicked out of bounds by Spring-Ford’s Lucy Olsen.