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District 1 6A: Great Valley girls, West Chester Henderson boys score wins

02/19/2022, 8:45am EST
By Jerome Taylor

Jerome Taylor (@ThatGuy_Rome)

MALVERN - It’s not often the game’s leading scorer doesn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter of a three-point game. 

But that’s exactly what happened as Gracen Curley led Great Valley in a win in the first round of the District 1 6A playoffs. 


Gracen Curley (above) had 18 points as Great Valley's girls advanced into the second round. (Photo: Jerome Taylor/CoBL)

The senior went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter in an 18-point outing to beat Conestoga 42-39. 

“I’m not going to lie; I was a little nervous,” Curley said about her late-game free throws. “I just focused on the rim, composed myself, ‘hand over the cookie jar’ and got the ball through the hoop.”

The Patriots led for most of the first half of the game as they kept Conestoga at bay and went into the locker room with a 19-17 lead. But in the third quarter, the game was more of a back-and-forth affair. 

Conestoga’s Kate Galica played a massive role in any Pioneers’ success on Friday afternoon. And with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter, she stole the ball and got a transition layup for her 10th point (she finished with 12), which gave Conestoga their first lead of the game. From that point on, the teams would spend the evening wrestling control from the other. 

“She’s just a hell of an athlete,” Great Valley head coach Alex Venarchik said. “You’ve got to gameplan with her athleticism in mind, we knew we had to make good passes and get her moving, and she was able to get her hands on passes.”

In the fourth quarter, Great Valley’s defense decided the game. On the final possession, Conestoga had the ball searching for a three to tie the game at 42. But the Patriots defense was stifling, forcing Katrina Valencia into a tough three-pointer that she airballed as time expired 

“We wanted to keep everybody in front, guard the line, if they take a layup, let them take a layup,” is what Venarchik told his team on the final defensive possession. “We locked down and really made it hard for Conestoga to get a good look. 

Now the Patriots will take on No. 1 seed Plymouth Whitemarsh in the quarter-finals of districts on Wednesday. 

“You always want to play the best to see where you’re at, and PW is certainly that this year, so we’re going to see what happens,” Venarchik said. 

By Quarter
Great Valley:  13  |  11  |  12  |  10  ||  42
Conestoga:     4   |  13  |  12  |  10  ||  39

Scoring
Great Valley: Curley 18, Sioutis 8, Powell 5, DiPrinzo 5, Lum 4, Frederick 2

Conestoga: Galicia 12,Preston 10, Francione 8, B. Valencia 5, Faith 3, K Valencia 1

~~~

Game 2: West Chester Henderson survives in OT

After two deflections, Great Valley had a chance to seal a first-round District 1 win. 

But the Patriots couldn’t come up with the loose ball, and the ball ended up in Ryan Bell’s hand, and he only had one option: shoot a three to tie the game. 


Ryan Bell (above) had four 3-pointers to help WC Henderson past GV in overtime. (Photo: Jerome Taylor/CoBL)

And Bell drained it to tie the game at 48. 

The senior sent the game to overtime with his three-pointer, and West Chester Henderson finished the job defeating Great Valley 60-52. 

Bell’s 3-pointer set the Warriors up for an opportunity to avenge a December 29th loss to Great Valley. And the Warriors seized it.

“Ryan Bell was hurt last time we played these guys,” Henderson head coach Rob Frattura said. “I knew his presence would help us the second time that we played them.”

Bell finished with 15 points, including a chaotic fourth quarter. The senior was involved in a flagrant foul. He allowed GV’s Connor Gal to get behind him for an easy layup on a full-court inbound pass. But in the most significant moment, he drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 3.8 seconds remaining and let out a cathartic scream right after.” 

“We’ve learned that when the other team scores, you just have to stay composed,” Bell said. “[the three] just felt like everything we’ve worked for coming to fruition.”

Bell finished the game with 15 points and two blocks. And the 6-4 senior got started earlier; he hit two threes in the first half and was responsible for slowing down Gal who finished the first half with seven points.

Great Valley had one more opportunity, and they got the ball to their freshman flamethrower, Cam Wallace. Wallace finished the game with 30 points, but the freshman couldn’t get a clean look on the final possession, and his jumper fell short. 

In overtime, Henderson got scoring contributions from Nyle Ralph-Beyer, Connor Fleet, Dylan Grimm and Ethan Jordan, with the four players combining for 12 points.

Those 12 points were more than enough in the final frame, as Great Valley seemed drained during extra time, leaving most of their shots short. 

With the overtime win, the Warriors will be headed to Bensalem in the next round of the playoffs. 

By Quarter
WCHenderson:  12  |   9   |  14  |  13  |  12  ||  60
Great Valley:       9   |  10  |  13  |  16  |   4   ||  52

Scoring
West Chester Henderson: Wallace 30, Gal 14, Hegde 5, Peduto 2

Great Valley: Bell 15, Ralph-Beyer 14, Fleet 12, Grim 8, Jordan 7, Smink 6


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