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Maggie Lucas Classic Preview (Jan. 21, 2024)

01/20/2024, 11:45am EST
By Andrew Robinson

By Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)

January is coming to a close and with it comes the last hurrah of showcase season.

There’s one more on deck with the annual Maggie Lucas Play-By-Play Classic slated for Sunday at Jefferson University’s Gallagher Center. Two courts will be running all day starting at 10:30 a.m. with the last set of games scheduled to tip around 6 p.m. Admission is $12.

As usual, it’s a who’s who of some top local programs from a bevy of leagues, with a couple out-of-state entrants also in the mix. 

With most programs in the thick of conference play the rest of the way until the postseason, this is a last chance for some to step out of some familiarity until the playoffs. Here’s a rundown on all the games on the slate:


Court 1

Great Valley vs Mount Saint Joseph Academy (10:30 AM)
Two relatively young teams will kick off the event. The Patriots will follow the lead of senior Julia Curran, a good shooter who has by far the most experience on the team. Sophomore Reilly Lackman and freshman Kate Weikert have been called upon plenty this season and are growing in their roles for first year head coach Todd Frederick. The Mount’s experience is up front, with seniors Emily Birmingham and Audrey Kukla anchoring the frontcourt. Audrey Rocks, a reserve and spot starter last year, helps run things in the backcourt for the Magic.

Notre Dame freshman Riley Davis is a player to watch Sunday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Lansdale Catholic vs Notre Dame (12:00 PM)
This should be a very fun game highlighted by a duel of Graces in the middle as 6-foot-2 LC junior Grace McDonough matches up with 6-2 Irish freshman Grace Nasr. Lansdale Catholic hasn’t missed a beat after last year’s PCL, District 12 and PIAA title run, although the Crusaders’ stiffest tests are all still to come in the Catholic League. Senior guard Olivia Boccella (Catholic) is one of the area’s top shooters, juniors Nadia Yemola and Sanyiah Littlejohn are third-year starters and freshman Allie Esposito has established a role in the starting five. The Irish are led by their super-steady senior Lizzie Halligan (Scranton) while freshman Riley Davis has already proven herself as a dynamic player on both sides of the ball. Juniors Catie Kelly and Chloe Knox are steady in the starting lineup, while junior Sophie Hall, a Delaware soccer recruit, brings energy off the bench.

Archbishop Carroll vs Perkiomen Valley (1:30 PM)
Last time we saw these two on the same court, it was the Patriots clipping the Vikings in overtime during the second round of the PIAA 6A tournament last March. Carroll, which will be coming off a key PCL game at Archbishop Wood on Saturday, is a very different looking team than at the end of last season. Senior Brooke Wilson, an Army recruit, still makes everything go and sophomore Alexis Eberz is growing into her expanded role on offense. Olivia Nardi, who hit the three that won that state game, Felicity, Maddie and Abigail McFillin, Bridget Archbold and Brooke Olender factor into the Carroll rotation. PV isn’t the same team either, although most of the names are the same. Junior Quinn Boettinger, a Navy recruit, will look to have a similar impact in the post as she did in a win over Wood last Sunday as the Vikings look for a second straight win over a PCL foe. Juniors Grace Galbavy, Bella Bacani, Lena Stein, Julia Smith and Grace Miley and senior Anna Stein (Kutztown) are the other Vikings to know.

Westtown vs Archbishop Wood (3 PM)
One of the marquee games of the day pits the PAISAA champion Moose against the PIAA 5A champion Vikings. Wood’s nonleague slate was as daunting as ever, wrapping up against a Westtown team that’s loaded with plenty of talent. Freshmen Jordyn Palmer and Jessie Moses lead the way for Westtown, but there’s really no weak link in the roster. Junior Olivia Jones recently scored her 1,000th point, senior Temple commit Savannah Curry and sophomore Atlee Vanesko are all extremely skilled pieces for a Westtown team that does plenty of damage in the open floor. Wood, which faces Carroll in a key PCL game Saturday night, will look to senior Ava Renniger (FDU) and junior Emily Knouse (St Joe’s) on the offensive end. Senior Lauren Greer’s had a strong season on the defensive end and senior Alexa Windish adds toughness for an otherwise young roster.

Cardinal O’Hara vs Life Center (N.J.) (4:30 PM)
O’Hara takes a step out of the PCL grind for an intriguing matchup against a New Jersy side that features one of the top seniors in the country in Kiyomi McMiller. O’Hara is still without senior Joanie Quinn (La Salle) for a bit longer as she recuperates from a hand injury. The Lions, always a stout defensive team, will continue to lean on junior Molly Rullo (Drexel), while senior Carly Coleman has elevated her play with aggressiveness and confidence. Sophomore Megan Rullo has kept the ball moving while senior Greta Miller and freshman Brigidanne Donohue will have chances to space the floor. Rutgers recruit McMiller seems to deliver every time she comes across the river for a game, the senior’s dynamic ability to score usually drawing plenty of eyes. Seniors Karma Payne and Shauna Curran - who has experience playing for Ireland’s U16 and U18 national teams - are capable scorers. Junior Reynah Ratliff, previously of Archbishop Ryan, is in her first year with Life Center.

Haverford vs Abington (6 PM)
These teams met in this event last year, although both have decidedly new looks this season. Abington’s held strong under first year head coach Allison Lawson, letting junior Maya Johnson set the table at point guard while sophomore Mikiaya Durham has been putting together a breakout season as a scorer. Senior Piper McGinley will battle at both ends, senior Jordyn Reynolds can get hot from the perimeter in a hurry and senior Sarah Oleary (Washington College) gives the team defense inside. The Fords have a strong point guard of their own in senior Aniya Eberhart (Millersville) while 6-foot-1 junior Rian Dotsey has stepped into her expanded role, the versatile forward able to score inside and out. Senior Ashley Wright and junior Natalie Wright add presence up front for a Haverford team that should have a size advantage.


Court 2

Upper Dublin sophomore Megan Ngo and the Cardinals are out to a strong start this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL File)

Upper Dublin vs West Catholic (10:30 AM)
The Cardinals have one last nonleague test in a young Burrs team before both turn their attention to league play the rest of the way. Upper Dublin, which is the last girls’ team without a loss in SOL play, rolls heavily with its top six. Senior Amy Ngo (Holy Family), who just crossed the 1,000-point plateau, is an ace shooter and a favored target of her sister, sophomore point guard Megan Ngo, for assists. Twins Nora and Brighid Brady, both Neumann commits, lock in on defense, the seniors also able to knock down threes. Freshmen Tamia Clark and Bridget DiMartile have also played a key role for UD, which will look to its defense to set the pace. The more West Catholic can get the ball to Ciani Scott, the better, with the 6-foot sophomore post very skilled at putting the ball in the basket from the interior. Sophomore guard Ciana Blake and sophomore forward Jasmine Butler are two of the other talented young pieces. Junior Nyla Coleman and senior Sakinah Abdus-salaam have been two of the top scorers on a team that’s pretty balanced offensively.

Imhotep Charter vs Episcopal Academy (1:30 PM)
The Panthers are currently on a four-game slide and in need of a big win. Junior 6-foot-1 forward Anise Geiger leads a balanced group for Imhotep with senior 6-foot forward Aubrey Wroten adding some more size. Senior point guard Asia Taylor and junior 5-7 guard Sabria Mann are two more experienced pieces. EA is made up of a number of multi-sport athletes, including Bucknell field hockey recruit Bella Notaro and Penn State soccer recruit Natalie Magnotta. Fellow seniors Anna Maloney and Taylor Hammond join them in the starting lineup. 

Friends’ Central vs Ursuline Academy (3 PM)
There’s talent all over this matchup between two squads who have been in the spotlight all season. FCS junior Logyn Greer is a 6-4 wing/forward with Power 5 offers. She forms a dominant front court pairing with 6-foot forward Kaiya Rain Tucker, another D1 prospect. On the perimeter juniors Nal’la Bennett and Saniyah Washington are two more players with D1 offers — Bennett bringing some elite shooting and Washington setting the table for her team. On the other side a pair of uber-talented freshmen highlight Ursuline’s lineup. Jezelle “GG” Banks already has a list of high-major offers, including South Carolina, and classmate Taylor Brown is on quite a few teams’ radars already herself. Sophomore 6-foot forward Skylar Bolden will be tested by FCS’ talented post players.

Bishop Shanahan vs Neshaminy (4:30 PM)
This matchup pits a pair of teams looking to make a late season surge up their district rankings. Shanahan, in 5A, is sixth in the current rankings and not in line for a first round bye. The Eagles have a younger group but strong leadership from senior forward Sam Blumenthal (Catholic) and senior guards Abbey Wolfe and Faith Ambrose. A big sophomore class, including Faith’s younger sister Carmel Ambrose, fills out the rotation for coach Jim Powers. Neshaminy, in 6A, sits atop the SOL Patriot division but is currently outside of a first round district bye. Seniors Reese Zemitis (Bucknell) and Lola Ibarrondo (Holy Family) lead a young group of their own, though senior Ava Irizarry and junior Alena Cofield bring their own experience for coach John Gallagher.

Germantown Academy vs Council Rock South (6 PM)
Got guards and wings? Both of these teams sure do. Two coaches in their first years with their respective programs in Lauren Power and Jesse Krasna bring their teams to the nightcap in what could be an up-and-down contest if both teams are hitting their shots. GA will certainly be looking for a bounce back performance after its first Inter-Ac loss of the season. Senior Isabella Casey (Bucknell) has been a points-producer all season with an inside-out game and she’ll be looking for some support. Senior Jess Aponik (Kutztown) and junior Jess Kolecki have provided it during the season, while junior Gabby Bowes is a perimeter threat and senior Sam Wade will try to disrupt CR South with her defensive pressure. The Golden Hawks have played a tough slate, their roster heavy with seniors and juniors looking to hit their stride going into the playoffs. Junior Kathryn O’Kane runs everything at point guard with classmate Fiona Reckner a playmaker on offense and stopper on defense at forward. Seniors Cam Gregory and Miranda Cantor, along with junior Liliana Metrick are all capable shooters while senior guards Lily Bross and Katie Purpura (St. Thomas Aquinas) always bring plenty of energy and tenacity on the defensive side.

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