A lot of coaches have a fear of messing with the routine, particularly at this time of year. So there was the St. Basil basketball team doing its pregame stretching as the clock hit 30 minutes prior to Friday's state playoff opener.

Some 10 minutes later the Panthers were looking for basketballs, but were instead instructed to head back to the locker room because the Ben Franklin bus was first late, then took the wrong route to Plymouth Meeting and then stopped at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School before finally arriving at Colonial Middle School a mere 10 minutes before the posted start time.

A lot of coaches would have been well into the first mile of pacing by then. Not St. Basil coach Terry Mancini.

St. Basil’s Kalee Fuegel has no opposition as she goes up for a shot against Ben Franklin.
St. Basil's Kalee Fuegel has no opposition as she goes up for a shot against Ben Franklin.

"This actually happened to us in our semifinals against Villa Maria (in the AACA playoffs),' he said. "Their bus didn't show, so from that standpoint, we're either used to it or we're a jinx, I don't know.

"Our girls handle that stuff very well, so I didn't see it as a problem. It happens, there's nothing you can do about it.'

The game may have started 15 minutes late, but once the whistle blew, St. Basil didn't delay in putting Ben Franklin away. The Panthers exploded for 32 first quarter points, nailing eight three-pointers, and cruised to a 73-27 PIAA Class AA victory.

St. Basil (22-6) will now play District 3 second seed Delone Catholic, a 69-65 winner over Holy Cross, on Tuesday, a rematch of last year's second round game, a 47-40 St. Basil victory.


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The Panthers trailed once, 2-0, but senior Kate Skalski drilled a three-pointer from the corner, senior Kaylee Fuegel picked a pocket of an Electron guard and took it for a layup and then she hit a three-pointer from the corner — all in less than a minute — and St. Basil was off and running.

"We had an adrenaline rush and it wound up working out for us,' Feugel said, smiling. "I think we have pretty good self-control and confidence in one another, so I think we did pretty well.'

St. Basil’s Molly Greenberg stretches for a rebound in front of Ben Franklin’s Naimah Roundtree. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines
St. Basil's Molly Greenberg stretches for a rebound in front of Ben Franklin's Naimah Roundtree. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines

Yeah, pretty well might describe it. The Panthers hit 12 of 22 shots in the first quarter, including 8 of 15 from beyond the arc, and generally ran a clinic on how to move the ball and find the open shooter.

Feugel scored seven of her team-high 12 points and made four of her five steals in the opening quarter. Senior Molly Greenberg scored nine points on three treys, including two in the last minute to cap the impressive display.

You'd have hardly known there had been a delay.

"I think that's where our experience shows,' Mancini said. "Having eight seniors that have been through this stuff, so that is a bonus for us.'

St. Basil’s Lindsay Joyce goes up for a shot past Ben Franklin’s Cortni Harkless. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines
St. Basil's Lindsay Joyce goes up for a shot past Ben Franklin's Cortni Harkless. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines

And it's not as though Mancini was running it up. He had nine different players in the game in the first quarter and all 14 on the roster played in the first half, yet the Panthers went into intermission with a 49-14 lead. In fact, 13 different players scored for St. Basil.

The only suspense left at halftime was whether the Panthers could push the lead to 40 points and set the clock running due to the mercy rule. Junior Ally Slone took care of that when she scored with 5:12 left in the third period to make it 53-13.

"They (were) our next game,' Mancini said of an overmatched Ben Franklin. "We play who the state puts in front of us. And it was special for me because it was my 100th win at St. Basil and to do it with this group of seniors is even more special.'

St. Basil’s Natalie Kucowski drives for the basket as Ben Franklin’s Naimah Roundtree reaches in for the ball. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob
St. Basil's Natalie Kucowski drives for the basket as Ben Franklin's Naimah Roundtree reaches in for the ball. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines

And don't expect the Panthers to take the foot off the gas any time soon.

"They set a goal to get back to where they were last year and they're committed right now,' Mancini said of his team which made it to the Eastern final in 2013. "The practices have been good. Our practice on Wednesday, we were at the Markward Club on Wednesday night, so we just did shooting and it was probably the best shooting practice that we've had all year.

"And I think it showed. We came out firing.'

So delay or no delay, there really was nothing to worry about.

Ben Franklin (27): Ray 2 0-0 6; Outterbridge 1 0-2 2; Tahmiyyah Jackson 1 2-3 5; Johnson 3 0-0 7; Tahniyyah Jackson 4 0-4 10; Harkless 0 0-0 0; Ty.Evans 0 0-0 0; Ta.Evans 0 0-0 0; Roundtree 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 2-9 27.

St. Basil’s Kelly Mancini breaks through Ben Franklin’s Tahmiyaah Jackson and Denise Johnson. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines
St. Basil's Kelly Mancini breaks through Ben Franklin's Tahmiyaah Jackson and Denise Johnson. Montgomery Media staff photo/Bob Raines

St. Basil (73): Greenberg 3 1-2 10; Lapkiewicz 2 0-0 5; Fuegel 5 1-1 12; Forst 3 0-0 9; Skalski 1 0-0 3; Wilson 1 0-0 2; Mancini 2 0-0 4; Weiss 0 0-0 0; C.Buckley 1 2-2 4; Joyce 2 2-3 6; Sloan 1 0-0 2; E.Buckley 2 0-0 5; Napierkowski 2 0-0 4; Kucowski 3 0-0 7. Totals: 28 6-8 73.

Three-point goals: Ray 2, Johnson, Tahniyyah Jackson, Tahmiyyah Jackson; Greenberg 3, Lapkiewicz, Feugel, Forst 3, Skalski, E.Buckley, Kucowski.

Ben Franklin 6 8 4 9—27

St. Basil 32 17 9 15—73