CONCORD >> Madi McKee was in the starting lineup Wednesday night for Garnet Valley’s first District 1 Class 6A playoff game. The junior forward has made a handful of starts this season, and seems to answer the call every time. When she’s not among the starting five, McKee is a valuable piece off the bench for coach Joe Woods.
“One of our games this year against C.B. West, I had to do the same thing, to defend against (the other team’s big girl) and come in and start,” McKee said. “I just tried to have the same mindset tonight. I came out feeling pretty strong.”
McKee scored 10 points on 5 of 11 shooting and played solid defense against Conestoga’s best player, senior center and Saint Joseph’s signee Katie Mayock. McKee’s contributions helped the No. 4 Jaguars earn a 43-33 decision over the 13th-seeded Pioneers. With the victory, the Jaguars — believe it or not — have clinched a berth in next month’s PIAA Class 6A tournament. The Jags, who had a first-round bye, needed only one win to punch their ticket to the state tournament. Eleven teams from District 1 qualify for states. Next up for the Jags is a date Saturday night with No. 5 Abington, a 59-48 winner over 12th-seeded Central Bucks East.
“This was a big game for Garnet Valley,” said McKee, a La Salle lacrosse commit. “Especially with our team, we always have girls coming in off the bench. So we all have a lot of confidence in each other and I feel like, since a lot of us have been playing together for such a long time, a lot of us work well together.”
That was evident in GV’s first game since its disappointing loss to Springfield in the Central League playoff final, which ended a streak of four championship campaigns. The Jags (21-3) had eight days to stew over the loss, but a good week of practice remedied their woes and they played Wednesday with a renewed sense of urgency against the Pioneers, a team that always gives them fits.
“We thought the whole problem was, we needed to have more energy on the court and on the bench,” junior forward Brianne Borcky said. “So, all of us were getting really hyped before the game and we wanted to bring the energy. That was the main focus.”
McKee buoyed the Jags with six points in the opening half, offsetting the lack of scoring production from junior forward and 1,000-point scorer Emily McAteer and Borcky, who were limited to five points in the first two quarters. The Pioneers doubled them both whenever they touched the ball.
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