Millville rolls past Neumann
DANVILLE – Some day, the three Bower sisters probably look back at this basketball season and smile. This is the only year the three will play high school basketball together.
And what a season they have made it. Reflection can wait, however. The sisters are too busy simply enjoying the ride.
Those three continued taking Millville on a historic ride Wednesday at the Whitey McCloskey Center, combining for 68 points in a 70-53 Class A semifinal win over St. John Neumann. The Quakers (23-0) remained undefeated and earned a spot in their first championship against either Mansfield or Northeast Bradford.
“I love it. We’re so close and we all know what to do together,” Maci Bower said after matching a career-high with 29 points. “It’s so awesome. We’re such a small school and it’s nice to do big things.”
The Bowers did big things throughout the game. Maci, a junior, ignited a 14-0 run to start the game and scored 12 of her points in the opening quarter while finishing with three steals. Madi, a senior all-state candidate, was dominant again, scoring 24 points, grabbing 23 rebounds, dealing eight assists and adding three steals.
Freshman Morgan might have been the X-factor, though. Morgan scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while making it difficult for Neumann (16-8) to focus on the older Bower sisters.
“We’ve always wanted to do big things here and we thought when she (Morgan) got here we could do it,” Maci said. “We didn’t think we would be undefeated but we are and we’re excited about playing in the championship.”
Like Millville, Neumann also is making history. The Knights played in their first district semifinal last night and can still reach states for the first time if they win the district’s third-place game against Mansfield, which beat Northeast Bradford.
“We talked about that right after the game. We don’t want it to end for anyone and especially the four seniors,” Neumann coach Steve Sholder said. “They are in good spirits and we’ll be ready to play until the end against whoever we play.”
Neumann brought plenty of fight, but Millville was too quick and too big. The older Bowers conducted a first-quarter fast-break drill, scoring at will in transition. Millville produced eight layups and Madi assisted on four of them as it built an 18-2 advantage.
Neumann had trouble slowing Millville all night and the Quakers finished with 20 layups. Madi Bower was a point guard playing center, constantly finding her sisters in transition or for open layups when Neumann doubled her.
The Knights, however, forced 25 turnovers, including nine in the second quarter when it pulled as close as 20-11. The problem was Neumann could not capitalize, missing 23 of 29 first-half shots. The Quakers ended the half on a run and took a 34-17 lead that was never seriously threatened in the second half.
“They have some athletes, no question,” Sholder said. “It’s a tough matchup for us with their speed and size and if you don’t hit a lot of your shots you’re in trouble. We forced a lot of turnovers in both (regular season) games but we haven’t been able to finish.”
Meghan Trenholm played another strong game for Neumann, scoring 17 points, grabbing eight rebounds and making seven steals. Sophomore Baylie Gerrity scored 15 points and Emily
Sholder dealt six assists.
“They are a good team and they beat us three times last year,” Maci said. “We beat them twice in the regular season and now, after this, we’re even.”
Meghan Trenholm 5 7-10 17, Emily Sholder 2 3-6 7, Megan Helminiak 3 0-0 8, Baylie Gerrity 5 5-6 15, Stephanie Fernandez 1 0-0 2, Rachel Danneker 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 15-22 53.
Madi Bower 11 2-4 24, Maci Bower 13 3-7 29, Morgan Bower 7 1-1 15, Nicole Whitenight 0 0-0 0, Abbi Belles 1 0-0 2. Totals 32 6-14 70.
Neumann6 11 12 24 – 53
Millville18 16 20 16 – 70
3-pointers: Neumann 2 (Helminiak 2).
Records: Millville 23-0. Neumann 16-8.