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District 1 6A: Kreydt plays hero for Springfield (Delco.) in second round

02/23/2023, 2:00am EST
By Missy Dougherty

Missy Dougherty (@Missyingyou)

“That was the most nervous I have ever been in my life,” Springfield (Delco.) senior Anabel Kreydt said as she described her trip to the free throw line with a tie score and half a second left on the clock in Wednesday night’s District 1 6A second round girls basketball contest between the host Cougars and visiting Conestoga. 

Asked if she had any calming thoughts running through her head with the outcome of the game essentially on her finger tips, Kreydt shared the contents of her internal pep talk.

Anabel Kreydt (above) hit the game-winning foul shot as Springfield (Delco.) advanced to the District 1 6A quarterfinals. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

“I was telling myself you have the whole community behind you,” she said. “Everyone on the bench is into it. You just have to kind of block everything out … think to yourself - confidence, you got this – you only need to make one.” 

Kreydt did indeed come up with the one shot that Springfield needed, as she drained the first of two shots at the line to cap off a 32-31 stirring come-from-behind victory by the hosts.

Meeting for the third time this season, and the second time in a span of just nine days, seventh-seeded Springfield (Delco.) and 10th-seeded Conestoga staged another heavyweight fight for the right to move onto the district quarterfinals, while simultaneously securing a guaranteed spot in the state tournament.

The most recent meeting in the Central League semifinals saw Springfield tally just four field goals during a 22-14 loss to the Pioneers (20-6). 

Thursday’s game seemed different right from the jump as the Cougars hit four field goals in the first quarter alone as four different players hit the scoring column to help Springfield out to a 11-9 lead after the opening eight minutes.

The visitors responded with two quick buckets to start the second quarter to go ahead 13-11 before Springfield junior guard Cora Fattori hit the Cougars’ lone 3-pointer on the night to put the hosts back on top.

Conestoga answered right back with a bucket from junior guard Marisa Francione and two foul shots from Isabella Valencia to once again play front runner.

Showing their trademark patience on offense, Springfield held for one shot in the final seconds of the opening half as Fattori drove to the basket and found Kreydt for a mid-range jumper that pulled the Cougars within one (17-16) at intermission. 

Kreydt’s final basket of the half helped Springfield surpass its entire point total from the last contest between the two Central league foes in the opening 16 minutes of play.

Springfield head coach Ky McNichol said there was a positive mindset going into the game.

“The coaches and players both knew we were way better than the 14-point showing from the last game,” McNichol said. “We knew we needed to come out and prove that tonight.”

Kreydt echoed the thoughts of her coach. “We couldn’t make a basket at Conestoga, but we     knew we would bounce back on our home floor for districts.”

While Kreydt’s basket right before the half gave Springfield some positive momentum going into the break, Conestoga surged in the third quarter as a baseline jumper by Francione pushed the Pioneers to a 28-20 advantage. The senior-laden Springfield lineup would not go away however as a bucket from Lexi Aaron brought the Cougars within six (28-22) at the close of the third.

“Our mindset in the huddle before the fourth was just to trap them and get the ball back,” Kreydt said.

Citing the fact that Springfield had fouls to give which allowed the hosts to aggressively turn up their defense, Kreydt reinforced the strategy in the huddle to just get the ball and go.

“We knew we could come back. Our coaches said you are winning this game.”

Senior guard Kaitlyn Kearney started Springfield’s comeback with 1-of-2 from the line after getting fouled on a drive. Classmate Taylor Hunyet followed with four and half minutes remaining on the clock with her lone basket of the game, converting an offensive rebound, to bring the Cougars within three (28-25).

Serving as a catalyst off the bench throughout the contest, Fattori scored on a putback of her own miss to make it a one-point game with just over three minutes remaining. Kearney then completed the comeback with one of two from the line to knot the score at 28-28 with 2:26 on the clock.

Conestoga answered right back with a layup by sophomore Janie Preston off a nice cut with a little over two minutes remaining to once again take the lead on what would be the Pioneers’ only field goal of the quarter and final of the night.

The two squads exchanged timeouts before a layup from Kreydt – after an Aaron steal – provided the second tie of the quarter (30-30) with close to a minute remaining in regulation.

A subsequent foul shot from Kreydt gave Springfield its first lead since 14-13 in the second quarter, but it would be short lived as Conestoga’s Francione was fouled on the way to the basket on the Pioneers’ next possession. Francione converted one of two from the line for her game-high 13th point to knot the score and set up a memorable finish.

One last timeout from Springfield saw McNichol put the ball in the hands of Fattori who drove to the basket. Fattori’s runner just missed the mark and Kreydt corralled the biggest rebound of the night. Fouled on the putback attempt right before the buzzer, Kreydt earned her memorable trip to the line.

“We kept our heads high and chipped away – one basket and one possession at a time,” said McNichol.

“We got defensive stops and translated it into offense and just found a way to win.”

“We got thrown a punch in the first half with our point guard going down with an ankle injury   and our other starting guard with some early foul trouble.”

McNichol beamed with pride as she talked about the difference makers in the come-from-behind victory.

“Our sixth man, Cora Fattori, really stepped up. She had the ball in her hands to win the game and our unsung hero Anabel Kreybdt has been doing that for us all year. She cleans up every board, every missed shot - she knocked down a huge foul shot to win the game and that kid deserves that moment.

“All these kids deserve that moment. They have worked so hard this year and worked so hard in the last 10 days to prepare for this game. They stayed mentally tough and they have been ready for the moment.”

McNichol and Kreydt agreed that another difference maker in avenging the two earlier losses to Conestoga this season was Springfield’s opportunity to play on its home floor.

“The atmosphere in here tonight was unreal,” McNichol said.

“Playing at home was a big factor,” said Kreydt. “We get a lot of people to turn out to these games and cheer us on. We love playing on our home floor.”

Springfield’s opponent in the quarterfinals will be another familiar foe as it draws second-seeded Haverford – a 47-29 winner over No.15 seed Methacton – on Saturday night. The undefeated Central League champs (25-0) pose another big challenge but look for McNichol’s squad to not back down.

“Haverford had a great run in the Central League. Props to them – they are a great team.

“We will be ready and anything can happen on any given day.

By Quarter
Conestoga:   9   |  8  |   11 |   3   ||  31
Springfield:  11   |  5  |   6   |  10 ||  32

Conestoga: Marisa Francione 13, Janie Preston 8, Ryann Jennings 4 Isabella Valencia 3, Katrina Valencia 3

Springfield: Anabel Kreydt 10,  Cora Fattori 7, Kaitlyn Kearney 7, Alexis Aaron 4, Taylor Hunyet 2, Mia Valerio 2

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Tag(s): Home  High School  Missy Dougherty  Girls HS  Central League (G)  Conestoga  Springfield (Delco.)