Rob Rose (@RobRoseSports)
When Frank Sciolla needed a new captain 10 minutes before Tuesday’s game began he knew exactly who to pick.
Pennsbury was already without two starters — senior guard Nicole Pompili and sophomore forward Danielle Sherman — when the Falcons’ head coach got some more bad news. Senior star and Maryland commit Ava Sciolla — his daughter — wasn’t feeling well during warmups and said she might not be able to play.
Nevaeh Dash (above) was all smiles after helping Pennsbury top CB South in a SOL Crossover game on Tuesday night. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Sciolla called on junior Nevaeh Dash to take over the spot of captain and while she stepped into a new role at the start of the game, it’s what she did in the final minutes that sent Pennsbury fans home with smiles on their faces.
Dash had struggled with her shot over the previous five games, but delivered when her team needed her. A 3-pointer with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter brought the Falcons within two and with eight seconds left Dash drove down the lane and hit the go-ahead layup to give Pennsbury the lead and eventually secure a 45-41 win over Central Bucks South.
“I just knew it had to go in. I knew I had to make it,” Dash said. “Confidence was the biggest thing for that. I just had in my head that, ‘OK, you're gonna make this, you're gonna come back,’ and that's what happened and that's what I did. The slump, it was there but, I felt like it was a time of need and I kind of just got up out of it. I just knew what I had to do today and that was to be the leader and kind of get out of the slump that was in.”
Despite not feeling 100%, Ava Sciolla still scored a game-high 19 points, including a pair of clutch free throws in the final seconds to lock up the win. The senior did most of her damage during the first half with 12 points, but added a huge 3-pointer of her own late in the fourth quarter before Dash closed out the contest.
Central Bucks South dominated the third quarter and turned a 1-point deficit at halftime to an 8-point advantage. Senior Taylor Hinkle scored eight of her 18 points in the third quarter as the Titans took over.
Hinkle, a Holy Family signee, and Ava Sciolla were recently named nominees to the East Region McDonald’s All-American game.
The Falcons found themselves down big in the final quarter and for Frank Sciolla it was an even bigger challenge down two usual starters and with their star scorer struggling to stay in the game.
“It's not an average down nine, you're down nine when you're playing some people who don't normally play,” he said.
Two of those players who stepped up to the moment — sophomores Layla Matthias and Daniella MacDonald — made major plays in the fourth quarter. Macdonald hit five free throws while Matthias had a pair of steals and set up Dash on both of her big baskets.
The loss ended a 6-game win streak for Central Bucks South. While Hinkle was the leader, the Titans are clearly a strong team, with seven players that scored on Tuesday. Pennsbury’s victory pushed the Falcons’ ahead of rival Neshaminy in the Suburban One Patriot standings.
With a win over a talented team without two starters and another dealing with a sickness, Frank Sciolla was impressed with his team’s ability to respond to adversity and was thrilled to think about how good the team could be with the potential that Sherman and Pompili could return on Friday.
“It's nice to be able to add people at this time of year. Hopefully things go well,” he said. “We play really hard and we understand at times size is an issue, but when we're firing on all cylinders, we have a chance to be dangerous because we can put five guards on the floor at once.”
Pennsbury: 13 | 11 | 3 | 18 || 45
CB South: 11 | 12 | 13 | 5 || 41
Pennsbury: Ava Sciolla 19, Nevaeh Dash 10, Daniella MacDonald 8, Layla Matthias 6, Sofia Vitucci 2.
CB South: Taylor Hinkle 18, Alyssa D’Orazio 5, Mackenzie Erb 4, Maddie Tantum 4, Sammy Schiesser 4, Yordana Samayoa 3, Allison Sauers 3.