Tornetta delivers Methacton win; Hamm, Perkiomen Valley oust Boyertown

By DAVE KURTZ

BOYERTOWN – “If at first you don’t succeed … try, try, try again.’”

That time-worn axiom was fulfilled to perfection by Methacton junior Sydney Tornetta, whose game-winning follow shot at the buzzer gave the fifth-seeded Warriors a pulsating 48-46 triumph over (4) Upper Merion in the opening round of the PAC Final 6 Playoffs Thursday night.

Locked in a 46-46 tie after the Vikings’ Megan Gilbert buried a long, heavily-contested three-ball with 10 seconds left to erase a 12-point deficit, Methacton inbounded the ball near midcourt with 7.6 seconds left.

Tornetta drove it hard to the rack, but her layup attempt spun out and into the hands of Abby Penjuke, whose miss went right back to Tornetta – stationed on the left side of the rim for the rebound and quick follow as time expired. The late heroics send the Warriors into the semifinal round Saturday night (7:30 pm) at Boyertown against top-seeded Spring-Ford.

“I was upset that I missed the first one, but I stayed with the play,” said Tornetta, who finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds. “Luckily, Abby got the rebound and I got another chance to put it back up.”

There was far less drama in the nightcap as (3) Perkiomen Valley posted a wire-to-wire 56-36 triumph over (6) Boyertown – the defending state 6A and PAC champion.

Taylor Hamm set the tone with 10-first-quarter points en route to a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 4-for-9 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.  Also for the Vikings, who ruled the glass 39-12, Megan Jonassen recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“It’s always good to get off to a good start,” said Hamm, whose Vikings will face Frontier Division champion (by virtue of tiebreaker) Pope John Paul II in Saturday’s semifinal opener (6 pm) at Boyertown. “It’s always good to keep the pressure on and get the momentum going. We did a good job setting the pace and we killed them on the boards.”

In the opener, Methacton also committed homicide on the glass with a 42-21 rebounding edge. But 19 turnovers and some inspired play down the stretch by Upper Merion, which used a 13-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to go up 43-41 with 3:46 left on Jordan Wilson’s bucket from the left baseline, turned things around quickly.

“That’s been the story for us all season,” said Methacton coach Kevin Kaminski. “We get leads, we blow them and we end up winning.  But we did what we had to do tonight.

“Sydney is one of our better offensive rebounders and she stayed with it. Thank God she was still there.”

Kaminski can also thank the Big Man Upstairs for Olivia Pennypacker, who lit up the gym for a game-high 19 points by hitting all four of her shots from beyond the arc, finishing 7-for-10 from the floor to go along with 7 rebounds.

“Some nights you’re just feeling it,” said Pennypacker. “The key to my shooting is focusing on my footwork.  I wasn’t thinking, I was just letting it go. I had a lot of confidence.”

For the UM Vikings, who will qualify for the District 1-5A playoffs, Wilson (10 points), sophomore Tymeriah Stanton (10 points, 8 rebounds), Maddie Harvey (8 points, 2 treys) and Amya Anthoney (4 assists) topped the stat sheets.

“Against Spring-Ford, we will have to eliminate the spurts where we don’t score,” said Kaminski. “That’s what happened to us when we played them during the regular season. We missed too many easy shots, and that led to leak-outs and easy layups. We will have to limit our turnovers and execute at the offensive end.”

Perk Valley executed with efficiency in ousting Boyertown, which will qualify for the District 1-6A playoffs. As usual, Jonassen (Fordham commit) and Hamm (University of the Sciences commit) were unstoppable forces in the paint, with Hamm also dealing from the perimeter. Alex Blomstrom chipped in with 9 points on 3-5 shooting from beyond.

“We had 16 turnovers and that is something we’re going to have to clean up,” PV coach John Strawoet said. “But I thought we did a good job with our inside-out game. When they chipped down on us, we hit some threes.’

Leading 18-12 at the break, the PV Vikings used a 15-4 run at the start of the third quarter to seize control, going up 37-22 heading into the fourth quarter.

But the gritty Bears, led by Kylie Webb’s team-high 14 points, did not go quietly, forcing five early turnovers in the fourth to cut the gap to 40-30 with 3:50 left.

That would be as close as Boyertown would get, treys by Blomstrom and Kelly Owens stemming the tide and giving the Vikings a commanding 48-40 lead with 2:10 remaining.

“PJP is extremely quick, and that concerns me,” said Strawoet of his semifinal opponent. “We need to take better care of the ball and not allow them anything easy in transition.”

(5) Methacton 48, (4) Upper Merion 46
 
Methacton        11 12 16  9 - 48
Upper Merion   11   8 15 12 - 46
 
(3) Perkiomen Valley 56, (6) Boyertown 37
Boyertown         7    5 10 15 - 37
Perk Valley        14  4 19 19 - 56