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Knobloch saves Delone's season with clutch shot

The junior hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter

ENOLA - There's a reason Elise Knobloch's teammates call her "bear claw."

The Delone Catholic junior has, as head coach Gerry Eckenrode puts it, "Probably the ugliest shot in the world." But with the Squirettes season on the line Thursday, Knobloch's shot kept Delone Catholic alive.

The Squirettes trailed Wyomissing by three points with 20 seconds remaining in the District 3 Class AA third-place game at East Pennsboro High School. A loss would end Delone's season, and the Squirettes had no momentum after allowing the Spartans to erase an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

But Knobloch knocked down a clutch 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, and the Squirettes eventually prevailed, 54-48. The win cliched a spot in the PIAA tournament.

"Don't miss," Knobloch said. "We knew we wanted to get the ball to Riley (Vingsen), but they knew our game plan, so we just had to hope everything worked out, and it did."

Not only did the shot keep the Squirettes in the game, it gave them some much-needed momentum. After being outscored 15-4 in the fourth quarter prior to Knobloch's 3, Delone Catholic went on a 10-4 run in overtime to seal the win.

Still, the Squirettes needed another clutch shot from an underclassmen to complete the comeback. With Delone Catholic down by two and just over two minutes remaining in overtime, freshman Riley Vingsen nailed the go-head 3-pointer. The Squirettes then hit five free throws to give themselves some cushion.

Knobloch and Vingsen save Delone Catholic
Elise Knobloch hit the game-tying 3-pointer in regulation and Riley Vingsen hit the winner in overtime.
Matt Allibone

While the play at the end of regulation was designed for her, Vingsen admitted she was scared when the ball ended up in her hands in the extra period.

"I didn't want to take it," Vingsen said. "I'll be honest, I was really nervous. But it went in so that made me super happy. To miss a 3 and blow the game would be super nerve-racking."

Delone Catholic has relied on seniors Ally Shipley, Katie Laughman and Lilly Singleton for most of its offense this season, but the two biggest shots in Thursday's game were taken by underclassmen. So how did Eckenrode feel about the ball being in Knobloch and Vingsen's hands?

"Well with about 20 seconds to go, we had no choice (with Knobloch's shot)," Eckenrode said. "I don't know how it goes in, but it goes in.

"Riley is one of our best shooters, if not the best shooter. She's played enough basketball she's not a freshman anymore."

The Squirettes led for most of the game and went into the fourth quarter up by eight, but went cold down the stretch as Wyomising clawed its way back.

A 3-pointer from McKenna Brower with under a minute to play put Delone Catholic's season on life-support, but Knobloch quickly answered. The win puts the Squirettes back in the state playoffs for the seventh time in eight years. The only time they didn't make during that stretch was last season.

"There's been a lot of adversity, with myself this season and also with the team," Shipley said. "We had such big aspirations, and the fact that we got past where we got last year is a pretty big accomplishment."

Delone Catholic 54, Wyomissing 48

Delone Catholic (54)

Ally Shipley 5 2-3 12, Katie Laughman 0 0-1 0, Lilly Singleton 2 0-0 4, Apgar 4 0-2 8, Knobloch 4 3-5 13, Vingsen 3 2-5 9, Zumbrum 2 4-6 8, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 11-22 54.

Wyomissing (48)

Myra Owens 3 4-8 10, Elke Cacchione 4 3-4 13, Bell 3 1-4 7, McKenna Brower 4 0-0 10, McAvoy 1 1-2 3, Dicarlo 2 1-4 5, Barber 0 0-1 0, Brunner 0 0-0 0. Totals — 17 10-23 48.

Delone Catholic _ 10 _ 14 _ 13 _ 7 _ 10_ — _ 54

Wyomissing _ 6 _ 12 _ 11 _ 15 _4_ — _ 48

3-point goals — Wyomissing 4 (Cacchione 2, Brower 2), Delone Catholic 3 (Knobloch 2, Vingsen).