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District 1 5A: Kubasko, West Chester East slip past Phoenixville

02/21/2024, 1:30am EST
By Joey Morozin

By Joey Morozin (@JoeyMorozin2)

WEST CHESTER  — West Chester East girls basketball coach Erin Listrani describes Annalise Kubasko as “tough as nails.”

Listrani watched Kubasko bounce back from an ankle injury that cost her seven games earlier this season. After Kubasko took an inadvertent hit to the face towards the end of the second quarter in Tuesday’s District 1 5A quarterfinal against Phoenixville, it was no surprise to see the junior guard play on.

Annalise Kubasko (above, in action in the Ches-Mont playoffs) and WC East qualified for the state playoffs on Tuesday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Sporting a black eye from the earlier bump, Kubasko showed off her physical toughness and her mental toughness too when she stepped to the foul line late in the tight game. 

Kubasko went 4-for-4 from the line in the final minute to deliver the No. 2 Vikings a 51-42 win over the No. 7 Phantoms and send them to Friday’s semifinal round to face sixth-seed Villa Maria — a 53-38 winner over Radnor.

“Third quarter and fourth quarter is when you really have to get it done,” Kubasko said. “Free throws are crucial at the end of the game and in those situations you have to hit them. I just knew I had to hit them at the foul line if we wanted to stay in the lead and get the win.” 

Kubasko finished with 10 points, all in the second half, along with several key defensive plays. Junior forward Sofia Keith led the team with 15 points and sophomore Carly Bickle added 12 to help the Vikings secure a victory that also clinched them a spot in the 5A state tournament for the first time since 2020.

“Yeah it feels amazing,” Listrani said. “It was a goal of ours. It's a goal every year and last year we got really close and so in the offseason it was like Ches-mont, districts, states and we’re 3-for-3, so we’re happy.” 

The Vikings came out firing in the first couple minutes, securing a 17-11 lead after the first 8 minutes. Phoenixville responded by holding them to just four points in the second quarter and the teams entered the halftime locker room tied at 21. 

Listrani had some advice for her team after they struggled a bit in quarter two. 

“We decide where the game goes from now on,” Listrani said. “We are not gonna come out in a lull like sometimes which we have done in the past and we did not do that. We came out with energy, fire and that’s how we have to come out every single time.”  

The Vikings took the advice to heart as they went on an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter to take a 31-24 lead. West Chester East won the third quarter 20-10 to take a 41-31 lead into the fourth. 

Phoenixville responded again in a big way with an 11-4 run in the fourth quarter cutting the lead to just 3 with one minute to play in regulation. Phoenixville forward Maliyah Warren, the team’s lone senior, was huge for the Phantoms down the stretch as she finished with a team-high 17 points. 

Tensions were high and East needed someone to step up and put the game away. Listrani had nothing but confidence in her junior guard. 

“She’s been getting it done for us,” Listrani said. “We missed her a couple games in the beginning of the season due to an ankle injury, but I knew she’d bounce back and certainly has. She certainly hasn’t taken for granted one second back on the court, nothing new tonight she does that every night for us.” 

Phioenixville heads to the playback bracket needing a victory over No. 3 Radnor to keep its season alive and lock up its own state playoff berth. 

West Chester East High School opened in 1973, but the school has never had a girls basketball team reach the district championship game. The Vikings have a chance to change that Friday night against Villa Maria and book a spot in the Feb. 28 title game at West Chester University, where they lost in the Ches-Mont League championships game last week.

“States is far away right now and what matters right now is the district chip and advancing to the district semifinals,” Kubasko said. “That’s all that matters and we’re gonna take it one game at a time, one possession at a time, one play at a time, and I know that we’ll be back in West Chester like we did for the Ches-Mont championship. And I know we’re gonna come out on top.”

By Quarter
East: 17  | 4  | 20  | 10  || 51
PHS: 11 |  10 | 10  | 11 ||  42

East: Sofia Keith 15, Carly Bickle 12, Annalise Kubasko 10, Lauren Horan 6, Annie Kerns 4, Kayla Cochran 4.

PHX: Maliyah Warren 17, Kayden Barrata 12, Riley Ford-Bey 8, Ava Gnias 3, Emine Ulcay 2.  


Quarterfinals (Tue., Feb. 20)
9) Bishop Shanahan 47, 1) Gwynedd Mercy 44
4) West Chester Rustin 61, 5) Lower Moreland 33
2) West Chester East 51, 7) Phoenixville 42
6) Villa Maria 53, 3) Radnor 38

Semifinals (Fri., Feb. 23)
4) West Chester Rustin vs. 9) Bishop Shanahan
2) West Chester East vs. 6) Villa Maria


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