There was never a doubt.
The Central Bucks East girls basketball team dominated from the opening tipoff and coasted to a 62-22 win over Central High School on Friday in the opening round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament at South Philadelphia High.
The Patriots jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Lancers even got on the board, and by the end of the first quarter the score was 18-7 in favor of CB East, the District One seventh-place team.
In the second quarter CB East had an 11-point run and by halftime the Patriots had a comfortable 33-15 lead.
The defense was especially stingy in the second half, as Central scored just three points in the third quarter and four in the fourth, while CB East put up 29 total points in the second half.
Emily Chmiel led all scorers with 23 points, 15 in the first half for the Patriots, who had 19 assists for the day.
“It’s really exciting to win the first game,” said CB East junior Mia Salvati, a junior who scored eight points. “My freshman year we lost in the first round and last year we didn’t make it to states so we’re really happy. We play a tough schedule. We have a lot of good teams in our area and that’s good preparation for us for when we get here.
“Now that we’re in states we know that all the teams are really hard so we’re not taking anyone lightly, even though we won this game by a lot. From here we’ve just got to play like we have nothing to lose, because honestly we don’t have anything to lose.”
Central, the District 12 second place team, ends the year 13-11.
“We didn’t know much about Central,” Salvati said. “They’re obviously in a different league from us but we scouted them and we had a few things on them so we were able to pick up on things.
“We had confidence going into the game. We knew we were able to win this game and we obviously wanted our season to keep going so we didn’t take them lightly. We had a lot of energy out there.”
Salvati has been playing basketball since she was in kindergarten and it is the only sport she’s ever played.
“I stuck with basketball,” she said. “Neither of my parents are athletic at all so I don’t know where it came from, but I just started playing and I liked it and I just kept going.”
She will not continue to play in college.
“I want to focus on my studies,” said Salvati, who plans to major in either physical or occupational therapy.
There are no seniors on the team.
“We know everyone comes back next year but we’re still pushing for this year,” Salvati said. “We don’t want to bank on next year. We want to see what we can do this year. We want to just keep going. The postseason is like a new season for us and we want to keep rolling and not stop and got as far as we can.”
CB East defeated Methacton 54-41 Feb. 29 to earn seventh place in the District One tournament.
“At this point, everyone is going to come out and compete,” CB East coach Liz Potash said. “Central played in the District 12 championship game. Their number 23 (Charlotte Carlies) is a nice player, 22 (Sara Hogan) hit some shots and 20 (Bene Butler) is a nice guard, so we knew what they had. We watched their film, but we also felt that we were the stronger team.
“We came off a big win on Saturday and we knew that win was important because we knew what bracket it put us in. It’s always nice to win and it’s nice to get 12 girls in the game. That doesn’t always happen at this level.”
The Patriots fell to Central York, 49-47, on Tuesday in the second round of the tournament at Garden Spot.
CB East fell behind early, ending the first quarter trailing, 20-12. Both teams scored six points in the second quarter to make the halftime score 26-18, and in the third frame they were again even, putting up 10 points apiece, making the score 36-28 as they went into the fourth quarter.
That’s where it got exciting.
“We were pretty stagnant at the beginning of the game and we got down by 11,” Potash said. “Then we kind of clicked.
“In the last four minutes we really made a push. There were a couple of times when we were down by two and had the ball so it was a one possession game.
“We were a little careless with the ball at times and we had trouble finishing.”
The Patriots end the season 19-10, and were tied for second in the Suburban One League Continental Conference with North Penn.
“It was a good season,” Potash said. “They have nothing to hang their heads over. We have a good group coming back, so we’re looking forward to next season.”
Chmiel had a game-high 18 points while Salvati added 14 and Gabby Wilga chipped in 10.
Central York, the District Three runner-up, advances to Friday’s quarterfinals against District 11 runner-up Freedom, a 60-47 winner over District One champion Central Bucks West.