Just when it looked like the Appoquinimink girls basketball team was about to relive the same nightmare of losing to Hodgson in the DIAA state tournament second round on their home floor, they got help from the expected and unexpected.
Amani Clark and Allie Minner’s back to back to steals and breakaway lay-ups pushed a four-point lead back to eight in the final minute and the Jaguars held off the Silver Eagles 48-39 Thursday night.
“Even when were up 17, we knew they were a good team and that this wasn’t going to be easy,” Jaguars coach Daniel Pisani said. “They sure didn’t make it easy for us.”
Appoquinimink (20-2 on the season) turned a 16-all tie into a 33-16 lead early in the third quarter, but Hodgson rallied, going on a 23-10 run deep into the fourth quarter to pare the Jaguar led to 43-39.
After a Jaguar turnover, Clark picked off an errant Eagle pass and sped down the floor for a lay-up to push the lead to six points. Minner pulled off the exact same play less than 10 seconds later and Appo was on their way to the state quarterfinal round. Pisani was more than happy for Minner, a player whose competitive fire served the Jaguars well Thursday night.
“I’ve coached her for three years and softball and four years in basketball now and she’s a kid that will do whatever is asked of her and gives 110 percent every single time,” Pisani said.
As for her big play, Minner said it was some advice during a time-out from assistant coach Brian Timpson that led to the big play.
“He just told me to gamble and I went for it,” she said. “This win gives us momentum and we’re going to try to take it with us on Saturday."
Clark led Appoquinimink with 16 points, while junior guard Ashley Smith and junior center Taylor Bond added 14 and eight points respectively.
The Jags will play St. Mark’s in the quarterfinals Saturday and Pisani already has the workload laid out for his team.
“After a late night like this, we would usually have a light practice, but we’re already working on packages and game plans for Saturday,” he said. “Saturday’s game is going to be even harder than tonight.”
E-mail Chris Stevens at email@example.com