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PAISAA: Westtown girls cruise to third straight state championship

03/03/2024, 8:00pm EST
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
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Savannah Curry enjoys lighting up the nets on Division I courts. 

The Westtown senior guard has played in two games at St. Joe’s on-campus stadium, both state championships, as well as one at La Salle. They’re gyms the future Temple commit will see over the next few years — and if her performance in them is any indication, the Hawks and Explorers better watch out. 


Savannah Curry (above) scored 15 points in Westtown's state championship win. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Curry scored 15 points on Sunday evening at Hagan Arena, leading Westtown to a dominant 76-24 win over Friends’ Central in the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association state championship game. 

Westtown won its third straight PAISAA state title in dominant fashion. The Moose scored the game’s first 17 points, were up 27-3 before Friends’ Central scored its first bucket, and had a 41-8 lead at halftime.

It was 58-11 after three quarters when Moose head coach Fran Burbidge let his bench finish out the game.

“I think from the beginning of the year, we were really just like, this was our expectation. We hold ourselves to a very high standard, and at the end of the day we’re still looking to get better. I hope this isn’t our last, final thing, but it feels great to be back here.”

The result was no surprise, the Moose one of the nation’s top girls’ programs, an overpowering matchup for a Friends’ Central squad that has three Division I prospects of its own but without Westtown’s overall depth. Everybody in Burbidge’s top seven will be playing D-I ball, while the eighth graders deep on his bench are on that track as well.

“[The] kids are really good,” Burbidge said in perhaps the understatement of the season. “They’re a very talented group, but they have worked so hard at practice, in games, and when you see a talented group like that, that takes defending the basketball as individuals and as a team, as seriously as they do, it’s as a coach, and as a staff, we’re blessed.”

Joining Curry in double figures in the win were junior forward Aidan Langley (14 points) and the sensational freshman duo of Jordyn Palmer (12 points) and Jessie Moses (11 points). Palmer, a 6-foot-2 forward, added four rebounds and two assists, while Moses grabbed six steals to lead a Westtown defense which picked up 15 steals and forced 20 turnovers. 

Curry, a 5-11 sharpshooting wing, checked out for what could be the final time in her high school career with 2:40 left in the third quarter, Westtown already with a 53-8 lead. She finished with three rebounds, two assists and two steals in addition to her scoring total, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers along the way.

Her next game could very well be in a Temple uniform, something she’s been looking forward to more and more as the season’s gone on. When she committed to the Owls, they were coming off an 11-win season in Diane Richardson’s first year on North Broad. 

This year, Curry’s watched her future team go 18-11 with a 12-5 record through the weekend, in a tie for first place atop the American Athletic Conference.

“I’m very excited,” the Baltimore native said. “I want to go now, if I could. I’m just ready.”

“She’s ready to move on,” Burbidge agreed. “Her maturity, her talent, and her embracing the intangibles in the game [...] she really put a lot of pride in her defense and defending and we couldn’t be more happy with not only the basketball skills and talent that Sav brought to us but just the type of person that she is and what she brought to the community.”

Curry’s one of two seniors on the Moose roster along with Michelle Olak, a 6-1 forward. A Toronto native whose family now lives in Montreal, Olak came to Westtown three years ago not knowing what a state championship was, and now has a trio of them.

“I didn’t picture myself finishing with three state championships at all,” she said after scoring seven points in the championship. “It just feels good to know that I’m leaving behind a group of girls that are going to continue what we’ve built so far the past three years.”

Whether or not this was indeed the end for Curry and Olak depends on whether or not Westtown gets an invitation to the national semifinals. Last year, the Moose played in the event, then sponsored by GEICO; now called the Chipotle Nationals, it’ll take place in Indiana from April 4-6. 

There’s no doubt that if Westtown is invited, the Moose’s season will continue.

“We’re really happy as a staff that they would want to keep playing and keep wanting to be with each other,” Burbidge said. “To us as a staff, that makes us feel really good that the culture and the enjoyment is what it’s been and is what it is. For them to have that desire to want to continue to do some things, that’s great, that’s great. We’ll go along for the ride with them.”

By Quarter

Friends’ Central:     0   |   8   |
   3   |  13  ||  24
Westtown School:  17  |  24  |  17  |  18  ||  76

Shooting

Friends’ Central: 8-31 FG (1-8 3PT), 7-20 FT

Westtown School: 29-56 FG (8-19 3PT), 10-14 FT

Scoring

Friends’ Central: Faith Watson 9, Ki’yari King 5, Logyn Greer 4, Kaiya Rain Tucker 3, London Mayo 2, Jordyn Adderly 1

Westtown School: Savannah Curry 15, Aidan Langley 14, Jordyn Palmer 12, Jessie Moses 11, Atlee Vanesko 9, Michelle Olak 7, Olivia Jones 6, Vianna Kanyamiheto-Watson 2


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