CB West superlative senior Maddie Burke nailed a three at the final buzzer on Friday, and the home crowd went bonkers.
The outcome of West’s 56-37 win had long been decided. But Penn State-commit Burke ended the game by scoring her 1,000th point on that trey.
“It feels amazing to be able to celebrate with my teammates,” Burke said.
Burke’s 16 led everyone, an impressive total since she missed most of the first and third quarters in foul trouble.
“For the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job on her,” noted CB East coach Liz Potash. “But their team is way more than just her. We held her to five at halftime and were still down 12.”
East briefly led 6-5 on Mia Salvati’s runner six minutes into the game. Anna Blue retorted with two threes and the Bucks led 11-8 after one. Jess Broskey’s three extended the Buck lead to 18-12; Burke’s three made it 25-15.
“We kept pushing. Every time we messed up, we said ‘Make a play.’” Burke shared. “As a senior, I’ve felt that everyone is looking up to me so I try and lead the best I can. I try to get everybody hyped up and focused.”
Emily Chmiel’s jumper cut West’s lead to eight. Emily Spratt’s layup closed the scoring and put West up 31-19 at halftime.
Paige Gilbert drew two third quarter charges, sparking a Buck defense that limited East to just one floor basket in that period.
“We came out at halftime thinking the game was 0-0. Our energy was unbelievable and that carried us into that run,” noted Gilbert, who had two blocks and grabbed six rebounds.
After trailing 37-25 after three, East came within nine. East’s Gabby Wilga grabbed three offensive rebounds on one possession before sinking a putback. Olivia Irons and Burke both scored nine in the last quarter as West pulled away.
“We talk about toughness, commitment and having fun,” offered West first-year coach Zach Sibel. “You have to make it enjoyable and when you make it enjoyable, girls want to be here. It can be hard with a new coach, but they’ve embraced me and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Salvati’s 11 paced East. Chmiel missed a double-double by a point and two rebounds; her defense helped to stymie the Bucks’ inside game. “I think it was our intensity,” Chmiel credited. “We knew they were aggressive on the boards. We had to take that into consideration. It was a team effort inside and it was the little things that made us work hard.”
The Patriots improved to 2-2 (1-1 SOL Continental) after Tuesday night’s 44-26 win versus CB South. “We’ve all been playing together since elementary school,” Chmiel explained. “A big thing that will help us this season is our chemistry.”
“We were pretty young last year and we returned a bunch of them,” added Potash, who starts five juniors. “They had good experience and a good second half of the year. We still need some experience playing in these big games. Our strength is inside right now and we struggled to get the ball inside. We have things to clean up, but we’ll bounce back.”
Burke headlines, but West hurts teams in numerous ways. Irons scored 14, Broskey added eight while Spratt had seven rebounds and seven points.
“They’re all pieces to a puzzle and without those pieces, you don’t have a team. Obviously, Maddie Burke is an incredible player. A high tide raises all boats and when you have a girl like Maddie and the way she gets everyone involved, people want to be better,” Sibel explained. “We have the toughness of Paige Gilbert, Emily Spratt stepping up, Anna Blue made shots when we needed her too. Jess Broskey is an incredible leader. I could go down the line.”
West entered press time at 3-1 (2-0 Continental) after defeating Souderton 41-24 on Tuesday. West played its second of four straight home games.
“Maddie is obviously an amazing player but we have so many different kinds of people on our team and each one brings something special. I think that’s why we played so well is that each person knew their role today,” Gilbert concluded, “and stepped up.”