Bucks County Herald

13-0 spurt catapults CB West past CB East


CB West sophomore Maddie Burke tries to break free from CB East senior Gina Russo.

Maddie Burke was in the zone.

And when a player ESPN has ranked 16th overall in the country in the Class of 2020 finds her rhythm, opponents need to look out.

“I felt like I was in a flow, yeah,” the Central Bucks West sophomore said.

After Central Bucks East senior Bailey McManus’ three-ball knotted Saturday afternoon’s contest at 25 early in the second half, Burke took over, knocking down three straight three-pointers to spark a 13-0 Bucks run that paved the way for a 53-42 victory in Suburban One League (SOL) Continental action.

“She wanted that ball,” CB West head coach Terry Rakowsky said of Burke. “She was going to make that shot, and she was going to play defense for us, which, I thought, she did a good job of today, also.”

Burke finished with four threes in the third quarter and a game-high 17 points. Her eight rebounds were also a team high. Juniors Diane Nicholson and Izzy Treon each chipped in 15 points for the victors.

Nicholson and Treon combined to score all 12 Buck points in the fourth quarter. Freshman Lilly Evans had four points.

“It really is a game of runs,” Treon said. “You get your run, you get up and then you just have to stop the other team from getting theirs – and that’s what I think we did. We really locked down on defense when they started to get their momentum. We locked them down and came back and got it back in our favor.”

Thing is, the Patriots got their runs; they just weren’t quite as fruitful as the Bucks’. CB East answered CB West’s 13-0 run with an 8-0 run. The Bucks responded with an 8-0 run of their own; the Patriots followed with five straight.

“We’re disappointed,” CB East head coach Liz Potash said of the setback. “We have a nice balance. It hurt us to not play with Elyse (Shine); she was in foul trouble. We made some outside shots, which helped, but we missed a lot inside. We needed to play a more complete game. In the first half, we had too many unforced turnovers and we gave up too many offensive rebounds, and then we cleaned that up in the second half and Burke has a big half.”

“The first three minutes in the third quarter are the most important,” Burke noted, “so we came out and punched them in the mouth, kept going.”

CB West, which has played a very difficult schedule, is 6-5 overall and 4-1 in the SOL Continental. The Bucks’ lone loss in the conference was to undefeated Central Bucks South, 53-47, three days prior.

“South was a learning game for us,” Treon said. “They’re a very good team. They have very strong players. We just have to come back and learn from that when we play them [again on Jan. 25] and hopefully come out with the win.”

CB West will meet CB East again on Jan. 30 in Doylestown.

The Patriots are 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the SOL Continental.

“We lost seven seniors last year,” Gina Russo said, “so I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this season. We have a lot of talent. The juniors, Caroline Pla, Elyse Shine and Skylar Krause, are all tremendous basketball players; the freshmen are tremendous, too. We have a good program.”

Pla buried three three-pointers for her team-high 11 points against the Bucks. Her final three gave the home team a 22-21 lead late in the first half. Treon answered quickly for CB West, giving the visitors a 23-22 advantage at the break.

CB East ended with 10 three-pointers. McManus also had three for her nine points. Russo and senior Sophia Mancuso each dropped in two threes. Russo finished with a double-double: 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“You look at her and think she’s a forward,” Potash said of Russo, one of four senior captains, “but she has a lot of guard skills, so she’s pretty versatile in that way and she’s not afraid to get in there and fight for a loose ball and fight for a rebound. She’s been having a great season for us.”

The Patriots are breaking in four new starters from a season ago.

“The nice thing about this team is they don’t care who scores,” said Potash, who guided CB East to the second round of states in March. “As long as we win, we’re in good shape, and they’re very unselfish and they work really well together.”

“When everyone’s working together, when all five of us on the floor are doing our best,” Russo concluded, “we’re a great team.”

On Saturday, a great player helped lift the Bucks to a big bounce-back win.




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