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Becahi girls move on to round two

Bethlehem Catholic’s girls basketball team couldn’t have been more prepared than they were for their first round PIAA Class 5A state playoff game on March 11 when they secured a 46-36 victory against District 1’s Upper Moreland (Willow Grove) at Bethlehem Catholic.

“That’s why we travel with a tough out-of-conference schedule,” said Becahi coach Jose Medina. “We play at big-time events, so that way our girls get acclimated to those types of environments. We want to pursue the things we eventually want to play in, so as we keep marching, the crowds keep getting bigger and bigger.”

Upper Moreland certainly brought the fans and the noise to the Hawks’ nest, but even that didn’t rattle Becahi.

“We worked hard in practice and we game-planned the whole week,” said Becahi forward Kendra Rigo. “We worked on rotations on defense. When our player left someone, we were right over there and ready to cover their player. [In the fourth quarter] we couldn’t stay low on the girl setting the screen. We had to be up on her and cut it off. We had to make sure we were getting over the screens or switching and cutting it off.”

The Hawks pulled away from the Golden Bears on an 11-0 run late in the first quarter and had an eight-point lead at halftime, but it wasn’t as if Upper Moreland was going to go away.

Upper Moreland guard EmmyFaith Wood willed her team to keep the score close, pushing the pace on offense and tallying 14 points for the Bears while the Hawks forced Wood and teammate Holly Gohl (8 points) to earn everything they did.

“We were never comfortable,” said Rigo. “We had to keep going until the last buzzer.”

A fourth quarter-opening 3 by Wood put the Bears within three points and brought the house down on Upper Moreland’s side of the gym, but the Hawks were unfazed.

“Move the basketball, keep playing defense, but more importantly, rebound the basketball, hold them to one shot, and win the possession,” said Medina of the Hawks’ end-of-game plan. “Little by little our girls were making baskets, getting stops, and that was the key to the game. We want to wear teams down that go six, seven deep with our ability to go 10, 11, sometimes 12 deep, and today it worked to our advantage.”

Becahi guard Ella Bincarosky pulled down two rebounds on missed 3s by Upper Moreland, and four points from teammate Cici Hernandez (19 points) put the Hawks up, 38-31 with 2:17 remaining in the game.

“They were definitely physical. Usually in our conference, I’m not getting pushed around like that, I’m not getting held like that, so my team was able to pick me up in times when I couldn’t get out of it,” Hernandez said. “It’s definitely my team. Just the fact that we’re all threats opened up the floor. We see each other, we work together, and my bigs set the best screens.”

Becahi’s second-round game is scheduled for March 15 at Pottstown High School where they will take on Gwynedd Mercy Academy (Gwynedd Valley), also from District 1.

Press photos by Linda Rothrock Akasha Santos goes strong to the basket in the Hawks opening round of states.
Mirynet Colon looks to put up a shot against the Bears.
Yarian Fernandez tries to battle through a defender last weekend.