Spring-Ford girls survive Neshaminy behind Courtney Hinnant and Meagan Yates

By DAVE KURTZ

PAC-10sports.com

ROYERSFORD – The clock was ticking like a time bomb, and the situation was growing more desperate with each passing second.

Spring-Ford senior sharpshooter Meagan Yates looked up at the overhead scoreboard and saw the grim truth, the Rams were in an 8-point hole with 1:31 remaining in the third quarter.

“I looked up and thought, we have to get this done right now,” said Yates. “I knew that if we didn’t, our season and my high school career would be done.”

Nothing is a greater motivator than the threat of elimination, and Spring-Ford responded to that very real predicament with veracity and purpose.

The Rams ripped off 17 unanswered points, spanning the third and fourth periods, and went on to post a 64-56 victory over Neshaminy in the opening round of the District One Class AAAA girls basketball tournament Saturday afternoon at Spring-Ford.

The momentum-swinging run started when Sammy Stipa (13 points) buried a long trey from the left wing and concluded with a sweet interior move by Mariah Traywick (10 points) that put the No. 9 seeds in front to stay, 57-48, with 5:07 remaining.

In between, there was a heavy dose of Yates and Courtney Hinnant. Yates buried a long triple from the top of the key and fed Traywick inside for a traditional three-point play. Hinnant, whose double-double featured 19 points and 12 rebounds, chipped in with a pair of field goals during the spurt.

“Courtney really came through for us,” said Yates after Spring-Ford advanced to face No. 8 CB East, a 69-54 winner over Chester, on the road Wednesday . “She played great. We needed it.”

What Spring-Ford needed most was an alarm clock. Coming off a triple overtime loss to Boyertown in the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship clash Wednesday, the Rams seemed sluggish, destined for the exit ramp.

They fell behind 37-34 at the half, and the deficit would have been greater if not for Hinnant’s work off the bench. The 5-foot-9 sophomore scored 11 straight Spring-Ford points at the end of the second quarter to keep the hosts within striking distance.

“Courtney did a great job,” said Spring-Ford coach Jeff Rinehimer. “She did what the team needed her to do.”

The Rams defense also did what it needed to do after getting torched for 48 percent (11-23) shooting and 37 points during the opening half.  

“We didn’t really change anything on offense or defense,” said Rinehimer. “On defense, we did a better job getting our hands up. We got our hands on some balls and we made it tougher on them to score.”

Tough became impossible during the Redskins’ scoreless stretch that extended for 4 minutes, 59 seconds. Neshaminy, which shot 22 percent in the second half, would get as close as 57-53 on Amanda Lalley’s drive with 2:07 left. But that would be as close as the No. 24 seeds would get. Spring-Ford sealed the deal by hitting 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.

“I just give it my all, do what I can,” said Hinnant, who was 7-for-8 from the floor and converted all five of her free throw attempts.  “I think in the second half we just picked it up.”

And picked up another opportunity to play another day. Yates, who dropped 14 points on the strength of 3-for-5 shooting from beyond, was grateful for a second chance.

“We came out faster and started talking on defense,” Yates said. “We were putting pressure on them, and we started getting the ball to the basket.”

Neshaminy (56) – Kent 1 3-4 5, Silvka 2 1-3 5, Lally 4 7-14 17, Barlow 1 7-8 9, Schafer 4 0-0 8, Mullin 0 2-2 2, A. Paulits 1 0-0 2, L. Paulits 2 0-0 4, Gerth 0 0-2 0, Kucey 1 2-2 4. Totals 16 22-35 56.

Spring-Ford (64) – Moore 0 3-4 3, Stipa 5 2-3 13, Yates 4 3-4 14, Traywick 4 2-6 10, Payonk 0 0-0 0, Hinnant 7 5-5 19, Lynch 0 0-2 0, Haas 0 3-4 3, Mueller 1 0-2 2. Totals 21 18-30 64.

Neshaminy         17 20 11 8 – 56

Spring-Ford        17 17 11 19 – 64

3-point goals: Yates 3, Lally 2, Stipa.