NETHER PROVIDENCE — Senior night often means underclassmen begin the game on the bench, even if they’re considered starters on a nightly basis.
Strath Haven thus rolled out a lineup without sophomore power forward Faith Raymond, sophomore shooting guard Danielle McNeely, and energetic junior guard Cayden Frazier in Wednesday’s Central League tilt with Marple Newtown.
By the time they checked in, the host Panthers found themselves in a bind, trailing by double digits.
Strath Haven, which is eyeing a first-round home game in the District 1 Class 5A tournament, needed to do better.
“Once we got our mojo, we started making shots, passing the ball well and working together,” McNeely said. “We finally got it together.”
Strath Haven recovered from a sleepy start and rallied to win on the night its seniors were honored pregame. The 53-45 final gave the Panthers victory No. 13 on the season.
All three of Haven’s temporary starter-subs made a difference. McNeely caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring all 11 of her points in that eight-minute span. Raymond was a force in the low post, tallying nine points, six rebounds and two blocks. Frazier had a solid floor game with four points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Smack-dab in the middle of Strath Haven’s resurgence this season is senior guard Alisha Lewis, who dazzled Wednesday night. The Georgia Tech signee, who transferred to her home school prior to senior year, poured in 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting, dished out four assists, and made three steals. Lewis is a masterful ball distributor and involves her teammates, all of whom have developed into better players because of her Division I talents.
“It makes us all happier. We get the ball more and we all just play together so much better,” Raymond said. “It’s Alisha. She’s different. It’s … I can’t even explain it. She’s just really good. In a game, she’ll surprise all of us.”
Lewis drilled a 3-pointer from near half court as time expired in the first quarter to cut Marple’s lead to four points. Strath Haven (13-5, 9-5) went on a 16-2 run in the second quarter thanks in large part to Raymond, who had five points, two steals and a block in the period. Haven held a one-point edge at halftime.
Keeping the Tigers alive were senior guard Lindsay Kane, senior forward Olivia Coary and freshman forward Haley Levy. Kane, a combo guard, sank four 3-pointers and led all players with 19 points. Levy tossed in 11 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Coary finished with nine points and two assists.
If not for 28 turnovers, Marple Newtown (5-13, 3-10) could have pulled out the upset.
“We’re a younger team and still learning, we lost a lot of our starters from last year, but we really overcame that and started playing better,” said Kane, who shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. “We’ve got a lot of freshmen and sophomores on the team who are learning new plays. But we’re getting better.”
Click HERE to read the full article.