SPRINGFIELD — Looking anywhere else in District One, playoff games, especially those between teams that have qualified for the PIAA state playoffs, are usually good ones.
Unfortunately for the Bishop Shanahan faithful, Mount St. Joseph made sure that wasn't the case on Saturday afternoon at the Mount. The Magic manhandled the Eagles throughout the contest, leading to a dominant 61-26 win.
"That was a beat-down,' Eagle coach Fran Burbidge said. "Right from the start, they got on us and after us. We never responded or recovered.'
Burbidge put it as well as anyone could. Alex Louin did Alex Louin things as she and the rest of her Magic teammates jumped out to a 14-2 run to begin the game, en route to a 38-16 lead at the half.
"I told our girls that every basketball team tries to be playing at its peak during the playoffs,' Mount coach John Miller said. "I really think we are. We're playing our best basketball.'
MSJ buried Bishop Shanahan in a 15-2 third quarter, and after that point, few Mount starters saw minutes for the remainder of the game. The Magic's second team maintained the lead throughout the fourth to put the game away at 61-26.
"Besides the fact that our coach scouted them,' Monzo said, "I think we just came out with a ' swagger,' as he says. We came out strong, and we believed we were the better team.'
"I think what happened was that we missed a few defensive assignments right out of the gate,' Burbidge said. "They made a couple baskets. When that happens, when you're on defense, the basket looks really big, and on the other end, it shrinks. We allowed them to play really comfortably.'
Clara Ford led the Eagles with seven points. No other Bishop Shanahan player scored more than five.
"We'll see if we're going to pout and hang our heads,' Burbidge said. "Or if we'll come back on Monday and get after to it to play CB West. I'm as anxious as anyone to see how they'll respond.'
MSJ, on the other hand, had quite a bit of offensive diversity on display. Louin and Libby Tacka scored 16, and Carly Monzo was right behind the pair with 14 of her own.
That offensive variety will "definitely be a key component in beating Spring-Ford,' Monzo said. "We've played them a couple of times. When they took Alex away, we'd get flustered. But since we've started spreading the scoring around, it's been great.'
The Mount faces Spring-Ford in the District One Final Four, in a rematch of last year's title game that MSJ dropped to the Rams.
"We're friendly foes, I guess you could say,' Miller said in regard to S-F. "Since my first year here, we've played Spring-Ford every year. When we played each other earlier in the year, I think we both knew there was a good chance we'd be seeing each other again.'
"It's always good to play a team that's really strong like Spring-Ford,' Monzo said. "Our games against them have usually been really tight, except for last year's district championship, and we're looking to take that back from them this year.'
The top-seeded Magic will travel to Harriton to take on the fourth-seeded Rams Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
Mount St. Joseph 61, Bishop Shanahan 26Bishop Shanahan 8 8 2 8 26
Mt. St. Joseph 18 20 17 6 61
Bishop Shanahan (26) - Forde: 2, 3-4, 7pts; Phillips: 0, 1-2, 1pt; Powers: 1, 1-4, 3pts; Juliana: 1, 0-0, 3pts; Parker: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Briglia: 0, 1-2, 1pt; Dreiling: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Basik: 2, 0-0, 5pts; Maxwell: 0, 2-2, 2pts; Cox: 0, 0-1, 0pts.
3pt FGM: Juliana, Basik
Mt. St. Joseph (61) - Louin: 5, 4-5, 16pts; Tacka: 6, 4-4, 16pts; Steinmetz: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Ulasewicz: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Monzo: 6, 2-3, 14pts; Cunningham: 1, 2-2, 4pts; Willis: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Lucas: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Maloney: 1, 0-0, 2pts; Geatens: 0, 0-1, 0pts.
3pt FGM: Louin (2), Tacka.