Perk Valley rolls over Neshaminy in quarterfinals
GRATERFORD >> When discussing the defensive strength of the Pioneer Athletic Conference champion and No. 1 seed Perkiomen Valley, it’s easiest to start from the inside out.
But perimeter-based offenses have their hands full as well, as Neshaminy found out the hard way in PV’s 48-27 victory Friday night in the District 1 Class 6A quarterfinals.
Six-foot-3 center Quinn Boettinger and 5-foot-11 guard Grace Galbavy combine to make quite the imposing duo for would-be shot makers, discouraging or preventing most teams from establishing a post game.
But guards Bella Bacani and Julia Smith combine with sisters Ella and Lena Stein to make life equally difficult on the outside.
The result? Offenses who can’t go inside try to get hot from distance, but they can’t find an open look because they find any one of the quartet in their faces from start to finish.
Friday night marks the 13th time this season – exactly half their games – that Perkiomen Valley has held an opponent under 30 points.
“It’s exactly what we want to do,” said senior Ella Stein, not fearful of divulging any secrets to the 25-1 Vikings’ success. “Be aggressive up top, funneling everything to Quinn and Grace. If they sneak past, we know the help is right behind us.”
Neshaminy junior Reese Zemitis, a Division I prospect, spent the evening attempting to solve the puzzle. She finished with a team-high 11 points but was repeatedly frustrated by the aggression of the perimeter defenders, causing several off-balance drives that resulted in missed shots or blocks for Boettinger and Galbavy.
“We knew (Zemitis) was a threat, a great player – but Lena (Stein) did a great job against her, and the whole team was on our games defensively,” added Smith.
It wasn’t just defensively that the quartet made their mark. Lena Stein and Bacani hit early threes to draw the Neshaminy defense away from the basket, where the visitors did an admirable job against the Boettinger/Galbavy duo in the early minutes.
Zemitis had five early points to stake Neshaminy to a 5-3 lead, but the defensive effort ignited an 11-0 Perkiomen Valley run that lasted for a full quarter – from the four minute-mark of the opening quarter to an almost identical juncture of the second period.
During that stretch, Galbavy and Boettinger began to find their range. Boettinger scored in close twice and went 4-for-4 from the line, while Galbavy hit a baseline jumper and a twisting layup to open a double-digit lead.
She capped off the half with a pair of threes, the last a bank shot to beat the halftime buzzer and send PV to the break doubling up Neshaminy, 26-13.
It didn’t get much easier from there, as Neshaminy’s nine third-quarter points were its highest output of the night.
Zemitis connected from deep, as did senior Taylor Gurysh and sophomore Alena Cofield, but PV’s tenacity made stringing together consecutive productive possessions impossible.
“It’s like Mike Tyson said, ‘Everybody has a plan until they get hit,” Neshaminy coach John Gallagher said. “We got hit early, a couple corner jumpers by Bacani and Stein, and obviously Galbavy and Boettinger were tough matchups for us.
“We play tough players all year, we watch film – we feel prepared when we go against players like (Zemitis),” Bacani said.
Galbavy led the way with 16 points and 11 boards, while Boettinger joined the double-double party with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lena Stein added nine for the Vikings.
PV will host Wednesday’s District semifinal contest, whether against No. 4 Souderton or No. 5 Spring-Ford, who meet on Saturday afternoon.
Playing on Friday evening means an extra night of rest for PV before the next game. If Spring-Ford prevails on Saturday, the fourth meeting of the season between the two squads looms.
The Vikings met Souderton earlier this year as well, however, so they figure to be well prepared regardless of the outcome.
“It definitely helps in terms of preparation, that extra day off,” Lena Stein said.
Meanwhile, No. 8 Neshaminy (18-6) will be on the road once more, regardless of opponent. It’ll take on the loser of Spring-Ford/ Souderton, the first of two playback games that will determine their placement in states as anywhere from the No. 5 to No. 8 team out of District 1.
“We came in here on a winning streak, and Perkiomen Valley took that from us,” Gallagher said. “We can use these next two games to re-ignite that streak, get ourselves on a roll getting into states.”