Spring-Ford locks up state playoff bid behind inside domination

By DAVE KURTZ

ROYERSFORD – Interior design.

That was the modus operandi employed by third-seeded Spring-Ford in its 47-37 victory over PAC rival (19) Boyertown in the second round of the District 1-6A playoffs Wednesday night.

The victory locks up a state playoff bid for the PAC champion Rams (23-2), who move on to host (6) Plymouth Whitemarsh in the district quarterfinals Friday night (7 pm). PW blasted (11) Downingtown East 58-27 Wednesday.

“We felt like we could dominate inside,” said Spring-Ford’s 5-10 junior forward Abby Goodrich, who returned to health by delivering 16 points (10-11 FT) and 5 rebounds.

Playing limited minutes during the Rams’ PAC championship run last week because of the flu, Goodrich and her interior teammates were looking fit Wednesday with a 25-16 edge on the glass.

“In the previous two games with Boyertown, we noticed that a lot of our points came on the inside,” said Spring-Ford coach Mickey McDaniel. “So our main focus was to get the ball inside.”

That singular focus, along with a pickup in tempo enabled S-F to shake off a sluggish start with an 11-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to turn around an early 6-point deficit.

Still, the gritty Bears (11-14), who will play at Downingtown East Saturday in an elimination game, would not go away.

Fueled by the impressive play of Kylie Webb, who led all scorers with 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, Boyertown trailed by just 21-15 at the break

But Spring-Ford opened the third quarter with an 8-2 burst to extend the advantage to 29-17.

In addition to Goodrich, 5-10 junior forward Olivia Olsen also flourished in the paint – hitting 3 of her 4 shot attempts en route to 6 points and 4 rebounds.

“My role is to box out, get rebounds and make smart passes,” said Olsen. “I thought we were really solid at the defensive end, and that is something we’ve done all year.”

Despite the inside domination, the Bears never faded. Webb’s trey at the 5:49 mark of the fourth quarter closed the gap to 38-34, but Cassie Marte responded by knocking down a triple and a two-pointer from the left corner on consecutive possessions to quell the uprising. Marte was 4-for-7 from the floor, 3-for-6 from the arc and 2-for-3 at the line to finish with 13 points for the Rams.

“We had it to four points and we were pressing,” said Boyertown coach Jason Bieber. “And then Spring-Ford comes down and (Marte) nails two straight shots.

“When you play Spring-Ford, you have to expect that they are going to hit a run. You just can’t allow them to get transition points – and they had 8 during that second-quarter.”

McDaniel was pleased with the precise execution of the game plan, and the contributions of Olivia Olsen off the bench and Marte on the wing.

“Olivia had a big impact on the game,” said McDaniel. “She’s a smart player and she gave us a lift offensively and on the boards. And Cassie Marte found her rhythm. When she’s shooting in rhythm she makes a high percentage of her shots.”

(3) Spring-Ford 49, (19) Boyertown 39