Local hoops players go dancing for wins
Although the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Selection Show was Sunday night, many other schools were already neck deep into March Madness. Several area standouts played significant roles in helping their college teams try to achieve that “one shining moment.”
The Quinnipiac women, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season champions, punched their ticket to the Big Dance with an 81-73 win over second-seeded Rider in the conference tournament on March 6. Quakertown’s Taylor Herd, a freshman guard, has appeared in 13 games for the Bobcats (27-6).
The Kutztown Bears had an 18-game win streak before falling to Shippensburg, 73-63, in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) men’s title game. The season was still good enough to get the Bears a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they fell to fourth-seeded Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), 94-80, in the first round. Pennridge’s Max Wagner led Kutztown with 14 points against IUP. The freshman forward appeared in every game for the 26-4 Bears, averaging four points a game and grabbing 11 rebounds in a Jan. 18 win over Bloomsburg.
Thanks to the stellar play of freshman guard Jordan Vitelli (Central Bucks South) and junior forward Laura Trisch (Doylestown), the University of the Sciences women (27-6) won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) South regular season crown and earned a tournament berth by beating Caldwell, 72-57, to claim the CACC tournament championship. The sixth-seeded Devils beat No. 3 Bentley, 73-66, in the first round behind Vitelli’s 11 points and Trisch’s 10 rebounds. The University of the Sciences bowed out in the second round with a 77-67 loss to Queens. Vitelli came off the bench to register 20 points in a 72-64 win over Wilmington on Dec. 6 and she didn’t stop scoring, ultimately ranking third on the Devils in points. Trisch led the team in rebounds and steals.
The Shippensburg women (24-7) went a perfect 16-0 in PSAC East play and earned a No. 4 seed before falling to fifth-seeded Mercyhurst, 63-51, in the first round of the NCAA Division II tournament. Senior forward Haley Scullion (Chalfont) averaged five points and 2.5 rebounds per game while ranking sixth on the Raiders in minutes.
First-team Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and honorable mention all-region Alysha Lofton (featured in the Jan. 5 Herald) was a key that drove the Albright women’s engine. The junior forward from CB South had 13 double-doubles in 2016-17 and helped the Lions get an at-large tournament bid. Albright (23-6) topped Piedmont, 64-54, in the first round before falling to Marymount, 68-59. Lofton had 11 points and grabbed 11 boards in tourney play.
The Scranton Lady Royals (26-4), the No. 2 seed in the Landmark Conference, beat Catholic, 58-42, in the conference tournament final to earn their berth. Scranton nicked New England, 49-48, and then defeated the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly), 76-65, before falling to Tufts, 65-48, in the Sweet 16. Makenzie Mason (Central Bucks West), a freshman guard, played in 25 games for the Lady Royals and tallied nine points against SUNY Poly.
The DeSales women (20-8) earned both a trip to the MAC Freedom title game and an NCAA Division III at-large bid. The Bulldogs lost to Husson, 74-72, in the first round. Junior guard Emily Kiersnowski (Doylestown) saw action in eight games for DeSales this season.
Copyright ©2017 Bucks County Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.