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Working Overtime, A-C Valley Girls Claim First-Ever PIAA Playoff Win
(Photo of A-C Valley’s Cami McNany, who scored seven of her 15 points in overtime Saturday to help the Lady Falcons to their first-ever PIAA playoff victory. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
So it should come as no surprise that A-C Valley secured its first-ever PIAA playoff win in heart-stopping fashion Saturday first blowing a six-point lead late in regulation only to rally in overtime to pull out a 54-48 win over Sewickley Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class 1A bracket at Keystone High School.
“It’s historic, really,” A-C Valley head coach Dave Sherman said. “I told them that. Earlier this year, I said I didn’t want us to hang our hats on being KSAC runner-up and/or District 9 runner-up. This, though, absolutely. Until another group comes along to do what this group has achieved, they will be remembered. It’s a pretty big feat.”
It was a feat that looked like it was well in hand when the Lady Falcons (21-6) took a six-point lead, 43-37, with less than two minutes to go.
But Ellie Thompson fouled Sam Smith shooting a 3-pointer, and Smith drained all three charity shots to cut the deficit to three, 43-40. A-C Valley then turned the ball over, and Smith drained a 3-point to knot the game at 43 with about a minute to play.
“We couldn’t put them away,” Sherman said. “To their credit, they kept coming back at us.”
After the Smith three, Sherman called timeout with just under a minute to play, and A-C Valley held the ball for what it hoped would be the last shot.
Brooke Irwin was able to get the ball inside to Kylee Eaton, but Eaton’s shot wouldn’t fall, and the ball was tied up with just over two seconds to play and the arrow in favor of Sewickley Academy (14-7), the third-place team out of the WPIAL.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well inside in large part due to their size and physical play,” Sherman said.
But once overtime started, A-C Valley was able to take control thanks largely to solid free-throw shooting and the play of Cami McNany.
McNany scored seven of her 15 points in overtime, and A-C Valley went 9 of 14 from the line in the extra four minutes led by McNany going 5 of 6 to outscore the Lady Panthers, 11-5 in the extra session.
“It takes quite a bit to rattle this group,” Sherman said. “They have been there before. We made a couple of errors that put it into overtime, but I told them to forget it. It was a new four-minute game. All we had to do was win the next four minutes. They must have bought it because that’s what they did. Sewickley Academy was getting tired, and we executed in overtime quite well on both ends.”
Ellie Thompson led A-C Valley with a game-high 25 points.
“Ellie was outstanding as usual,” Sherman said.
A-C Valley, which led 14-10 after a quarter, 24-21 at halftime and 35-32 after three, had a large advantage at the free-throw line going 23 of 33 in the game compared to 6 of 9 for Sewickley Academy.
But Smith, who had a team-high 21 points, kept her team alive by scoring nine of her 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Bre Warner added eight points for Sewickley Academy.
“We were able to pressure them out of sorts to some degree,” Sherman said.
A-C Valley will take on Kennedy Catholic in the second round Wednesday at a site and time to be announced Sunday.
A-C VALLEY 54, SEWICKLEY ACADEMY 48, OVERTIME
Score by Quarters
Sewickley Academy 10 11 11 11 5 – 48
A-C Valley 14 10 11 8 11 – 54
SEWICKLEY ACADEMY – 48
Myra Samuel 0 0-0 0, JJ Jardini 1 0-0 2, Theressa Wilson 2 0-0 4, Olivia Ryder 3 0-0 6, Kamryn Lightcap 1 1-2 3, , Tatum McKelvey 0 0-0 0, Sam Smith 6 5-7 21, Bre Warner 4 0-0 8, Alyssa Winter 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 6-9 48.
A-C VALLEY – 54
Cami McNany 6 6-9 15, Ellie Thompson 6 13-18 25, Annie Viertel 1 1-2 3, Brooke Irwin 1 0-0 2, Kylee Eaton 1 1-2 3, Emma Fox 1 0-0 2, Allison Sherman 1 2-2 4. Totals 15 23-33 54.
Three-pointers: Sewickley Academy 4 (Smith 4). A-C Valley 1 (McNany).
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