When the PIAA Class AAAA Girls Basketball Tournament pairings were released last week, most folks considered Methacton the longest shot on the 32-team board.
That's because the Warriors' first-round opponent just so happened to be vaunted Wilson, a squad that features four Division I recruits and is the trendy pick to garner gold in Hershey in a couple of weeks.
Somebody forgot to tell that to Kelly Glatthorn, Jenna Carroll and the rest of their Methacton teammates, who came within a missed shot in the closing seconds of taking down Berks and District 3 champion Wilson in Friday's 44-43 loss at Garden Spot High.
"It would have probably been the biggest win here in my 12 years as head coach,' Methacton coach Craig Kaminski said. "If you would have told me at the beginning of the season we'd have a first-round state game with Wilson and have a chance to beat them, I'd have certainly taken it. Our girls played extremely hard; they executed the game plan the whole game. I couldn't ask much more for them, except for maybe a win.'
Despite trailing by 10 points with a little more than eight minutes remaining, a win was a distinct possibility for the Pioneer Athletic Conference runner-up and District 1 No. 10 seed Warriors (20-9), who tied it up at 42-42 when Glatthorn rained home a 3-pointer with 2:30 remaining in the contest to set the stage for what wound up a chaotic finish.
Playing zone for all but one possession to try and thwart Wilson's inside duo of the James Madison-bound Carley Brew and the Rider-bound Jessie Wallace, the Warriors got a gutsy effort from their seven-player rotation of seniors Glatthorn (14 points), Carroll (14 points), Kara Steinke and Amber Szkandarik; junior Tae Ellis; and freshmen Ryan DeOrio and Jackie Cerchio.
"We just started playing at another level,' Kaminksi said. "Our girls started playing with a lot of energy and a lot of heart. It started defensively, but then when we were coming down on offense, we were attacking more and making shots.'
Trailing 44-42, Methacton got a foul shot from Ellis with 28 seconds left and an offensive rebound from Carroll to get a chance to take the lead. But Carroll's inside bid was too strong and — after Methacton dodged a missed shot from Wilson's Avery Marz — Ellis' short turnaround jumper was off the mark to enable the Bulldogs to escape with their 17th straight victory.
"We had numerous opportunities down the stretch to take the lead or go ahead, but they just didn't fall or we maybe didn't get the looks we wanted,' Kaminksi said.
The loss ended the careers of an accomplished senior class that made back-to-back PIAA tourney appearances (Methacton had made just one trip to states prior to last season, in 2008) and played in three straight PAC-10 title games.
Glatthorn and Carroll both surpassed the 1,000-point career mark this season, finishing with 1,122 and 1,025 points — fourth and fifth in school history, respectively.
"The four of them (Glatthorn, Carroll, Steinke, Szkandarik), they were one of the best senior classes I've worked with,' Kaminski said. "Very coachable kids who do everything I ask them to do. Good leaders, good people and good kids — on and off the court. All four of them made tremendous strides since their freshman years.'
Culminating in an effort that saw the longshot Warriors come oh-so-close to lighting up the PIAA tourney toteboard before getting nipped at the wire.
PAC-10 champion Spring-Ford (24-6), which got 16 points from Sammy Stipa in Friday's 51-45 PIAA first-round win over Red Lion, faces District 3 No. 6 seed Mechanicsburg (23-6) in second-round action Tuesday at Garden Spot at 7:30 p.m. Junior Maggie Locke, who missed Friday's game after suffering a concussion in the 63-51 District 1 title-game loss to North Penn, will be re-evaluated Monday.
Mechanicsburg — which lost to Red Lion 49-44 in the District 3 fifth-place game — advanced with a 70-36 rout of District 12 No. 2 seed Northeast, getting 26 points (including six 3-pointers) from Hannah Brown and 20 points from Cecily Carl.
District 1 squads went 5-5 in Class AAAA openers, highlighted by North Penn's 52-41 win over Lebanon, Bayard Rustin's 71-47 dismantling of Manheim Township, Mount St. Joseph Academy's 68-32 pounding of Cardinal O'Hara and Abington's 55-36 victory over Pocono Mountain West. On the flip side, C.B. East fell 32-30 to Parkland, Garnet Valley lost 41-39 to Archbishop Carroll, Central Bucks West saw its season end in a 46-43 loss to Cumberland Valley, last year's state runner-up, and Bishop Shanahan fell 48-30 to Dover.
In other Class AAAA second-round action Tuesday, North Penn faces Northampton, Rustin meets Parkland, Cumberland Valley takes on Archbishop Carroll, Mount St. Joseph Academy meets Dover in the first game of the doubleheader at Garden Spot that features Spring-Ford in the second game. Also, Wilson plays Abington, North Allegheny faces State College and Hempfield Area takes on Fox Chapel.
OPENING AT BOONE
Tim Kline has resigned as Daniel Boone coach. Kline was 11-34 in two seasons at Boone, which went 1-9 in Berks I play and 5-17 overall this season. The school began to advertise the position Friday.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD