So. Fulton flounders vs. Jenkintown
Find out the best plays from Southern Fulton's girls basketball team in the second round of the PIAA tournament. Video by Lizi Arbogast, GameTimePA.com
Simply put, it just wasn't Southern Fulton's night.
"Be it snow, be it missing school days, be it Thursday (instead of Wednesday), we just didn't put a very good game together," SF girls basketball coach Meagan Mellott said. "This late in the season, you can't afford the little mistakes or little setbacks because it's too difficult to come back from."
In the opening minutes of Thursday's PIAA Class 2A second-round game, it looked like Southern Fulton might stifle Jenkintown defensively.
The Indians kept Jenkintown off the scoreboard for the first 4:54 of the game, but then the tides turned. The Drakes scored the next 12 points and never relinquished the lead in a 57-27 victory.
Southern Fulton (18-9) went through countless scoring droughts and had a number of uncharacteristic turnovers that allowed the deficit to become significant.
"They played excellent defense, but I don't know that it was even us not scoring," Mellott said. "It's just one of those games where late in the season, you really can't afford to not show up, and unfortunately that's what happened."
Indians sophomore Drew Gordon said, "Mentally, we just weren't working as a team. We got down on ourselves and got angry."
Having recently come off an injury, Olivia Mottern led Southern Fulton with 13 points.
"All the reports I saw, she was ready to go," Jenkintown coach James Romano said. "We knew everything goes through her, so if they need a shot, they're going to try to get it to her. Caroline Arena has played the opposing team's No. 1 all year, so we tried to limit her from getting the ball."
Mottern is one of four key seniors Southern Fulton will be losing to graduation.
Emily Bradshaw, Madison Baker and Drew Hann were all consistent starters, as well, and all four saw an extremely successful four-year run as Indians.
"I think we made a good run," Bradshaw said. "With all the difficulties we had, Liv getting hurt, other people's sickness, Drew (Gordon) hit her head one game - we just overcame a lot and worked together."
Gordon said, "It's going to be rough losing all the seniors, but we'll rebuild slowly. We have a bunch of ninth-graders coming up, so we'll just have to get them ready."
Along with freshman Lindsey Hollenshead, Gordon will be a leader moving forward, as the pair both had significant playing time this season as underclassmen.
"It's going to be a huge loss; they've excelled in the program and made it what it is," Mellott said of her seniors. "It's going to be a big adjustment next year. With that being said, we have a lot of young talent. Our junior high lost two games all season, and the younger girls know what to strive for. They have a lot of work to do in the offseason to get where these girls were, but I think they can absolutely do it."