Haynes, Balzer pace Patriots past Archbishop Carroll
WHITEMARSH >> Germantown Academy girls basketball coach Sherri Retif often tells her players they are a team of stars.
Her point is that the Patriots don’t need to rely on just one or two players to score every point, grab every rebound or make every pass. Any one of them can turn things up in a given game, so they can keep opponents guessing too.
On Dec. 11, it was Jaye Haynes and Rachel Balzer’s turn and they more than delivered as GA turned in a strong second half to defeat visiting Archbishop Carroll 59-41.
“Coach Retif says after every game and every practice that this is a team of stars and it’s going to be one person’s night one night and someone else the next night,” Balzer, a senior guard and George Mason recruit, said. “We have so many weapons on this team that if one team tries to stop one of us, someone else is just going to go off.”
Carroll, which is on the younger side this year but not lacking in talent, started out great and worked its offense well to build a 10-2 first quarter lead. The PCL Patriots, led by returning starters Harlem Jennings and Erin Sweeney, ran their offense confidently for most of the first half.
Even after Balzer, who led GA with 19 points, got hot to start the second quarter, Carroll managed to match GA. A stickbak by Kharli Dougherty at the second quarter buzzer had Carroll down just 27-24 at the break.
“The ball movement was really good,” Carroll coach Renie Shields said. “The first half, we did a really good job moving the ball around. In the second half, when you’re not making shots, things start to get tight and the court gets really small. I think we made the court really small in the second half.”
Haynes had a quiet first half but she caught fire to start the third quarter. The junior guard scored the first seven points of the first half and her team’s first 13 as the Patriots outscored Carroll 13-4 to start the third.
One of the main things Haynes worked on this summer was increasing her range and the guard, an allstate pick last year, showed that off by hitting a pair of 3-pointers during her scoring spree.
“I didn’t want to let this win go and I felt like I could dominate where I am right now and I got really passionate about it,” Haynes said. “We’re so strong together and have such a good core. We trust each other, which I love, because we have such good chemistry. People may think because we’re younger, we only have one senior and mostly junior, we may not be as competitive but we always show up.”
The highlight of the half for Haynes though was her layup after a long inbound pass by Balzer. While her older brother Jon, a senior wide receiver at North Penn, is the family football player, Jaye showed her route running skills on the post pattern and catch as Balzer hit her in stride for two of her 17 points.
“Our coach says we’re a team full of stars and we believe that up and down the bench,” Haynes said. “Lindsay (Putnam) can get hot, Sarah (DiLello) has amazing defense, Maddie (Burns) is so competitive and Becca (Booth) has improve so much. It’s no one person’s team, it’s all of us.”
Carroll made a good adjustment after Balzer’s second quarter spurt by switching Jennings over to guard her. While the senior sharpshooter didn’t score in the third, she blew the game open in the fourth quarter.
Helping the cause was GA’s defensive pressure. Carroll still generated some quality looks, but the visiting Patriots weren’t able to hit them the same way they did in the first half. GA also forced some turnovers, led by point guard Maddie Vizza’s quick hands, that turned into transition scores.
“Once you start missing shots, that’s when everything else goes out the window,” Shields said. “You stop playing defense, you lose people in transition. We shot enough over the summer I know we’ll get back to shooting well, this was a bad shooting day.”
Shields noted that Balzer’s shooting spree, which saw the senior score eight straight to open the frame as part of an individual 10-2 run, was what finally did her team in.
A step-back three by Balzer put GA up 53-34 and when the senior was lifted a few minutes later, she and Retif shared a hug before she took a seat on the bench. Last year, Balzer struggled through a back injury that ended up requiring offseason surgery and by her own admission started this season slow, but felt really good after the day’s effort.
“I feel faster, I’m able to explode off my right leg a lot more, I’m just able to move a lot better,” Balzer said.
“Coach Retif and I watch film all the time and me from my sophomore year to junior year was a huge difference and now junior year to senior year is also a huge difference. I feel great.”
GA’s endgame is the PAISAA title that’s eluded them the past few years, but they’re also looking to repeat as Inter-Ac champions and once again have a pretty loaded schedule of nonleague games.
“Right now, I love how we trust each other the most,” Haynes said. “Our trust is there. None of us feel bad if we make a mistake, we all have each other’s back and we’re all there for each other.”
GA 59, Archbishop Carroll 41
GERMANTOWN ACADEMY 9 18 27 14 – 59
ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 12 12 13 4 – 41
GA: Elle Stauffer 3 0-1 6, Maddie Vizza 3 0-0 8, Jaye Haynes 7 1-1 17, Rachel Balzer 7 1-3 19, Becca Booth 2 0-0 4, Maddie Burns 1 0-0 2, Lindsay Putnam 1 0-0 3. Totals: 24 2-5 59
AC: Mary DeSimone 1 3-4 5, Hope Syron 1 0-0 2, Erin Sweeney 3 0-0 7, Grace O’Neal 5 0-0 12, Harlem Jennings 4 2-2 10, Kharli Dougherty 1 0-0 2, Rose Henry 1 0-0 3. Totals: 16 5-6 41 3-pointers: GA – Balzer 4, Vizza 2, Haynes 2, Putnam; AC – O’Neal 2, Sweeney, Henry
Germantown Academy’s Jaye Haynes reaches for a loose ball near Carroll’s Erin Sweeney.
Carroll’s Harlem Jennings pulls up to shoot against Germantown Academy.
Germantown Academy’s Becca Booth goes to shoot as Carroll’s Hope Syron defends.