Bronze for the Braves.
Bethany Bills scored nine of her 16 points in the first half, Abbey Leslie added 14 points, Brooke Liney chipped in with 12 points off the bench, including a dagger fourth-quarter 3-pointer, and Pequea Valley captured third place in the District Three Class 3A girls basketball bracket on Wednesday with a 64-50 win over Susquenita in Kinzers.
“This is huge for us,” PV coach Jason McDonald said. “Obviously you want to be in the championship game. But these kids continue to show us every day what they’re made of. They work hard and they play together.”
For the first time in program history, PV (22-7) will play in the PIAA playoffs; the L-L League runner-up Braves clinched a spot by winning last week and reaching the district semifinals. PV’s reward for making states: A date against the District 12 runner-up — Imhotep Charter or Philadelphia Catholic League champ Philly West Catholic — on March 6.
Wednesday, Susquenita had a 43-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but third-seeded PV got big bucket after big bucket down the stretch, and took the lead for good, 45-43, when Rebecca Cox scored in the lane.
Later, Bills had a pair of fast-break layups, Clara Neff had a stick-back, and Liney delivered the exclamation point, swishing a wing 3-pointer to give the Braves a cozy 56-49 cushion with 1:41 to go. Bills and Neff had given PV a safe and sound 53-46 lead with back-to-back layups off of steals.
Susquenita (20-7) had a 29-28 lead at the half, but PV went 7-0 to open the third quarter; Neff scored in the lane, Leslie drilled a deep trey, and Cox capped the clip with a put-back bucket and the Braves were up 35-29.
“We tweaked a couple of little things at the half, but more than anything, we challenged them,” McDonald said. “We said hey, how badly do you want this? Every rebound. Every loose ball. You have to play with confidence and play as a team. And that’s what they did.”
Susquenita forged ahead by three by the end of the third — and the Blackhawks were within 49-46 on Alana Boyer’s 3-pointer with 3:55 to go — but the Braves finished the job.
Neff had eight points and eight rebounds and Caroline Horst had six points and 11 rebounds for PV, which forced 18 turnovers and out-rebounded Susquenita 39-38.