Bears Use Grit to Clinch Outright Title

Scanlon dishes to Feldman earlier this season (PC: Gabby Sun)

Yesterday evening, the girls’ basketball team clinched the outright PSAA regular season title for the second straight year with a 38-30 victory over Avenues. The regular season crown is the 15th in the program’s history.

It had been 83 days since the Bears opened the season with a 46-25 win at Avenues, and in the nearly three-month interim the Aviators added a piece to the roster and gained experience by going through the league gauntlet. They came into Swanson ready to battle, but the undefeated Bears displayed their toughness and poise to weather the storm.

Avenues scored the game’s opening bucket, and the lead changed hands on each of the next four scores as the Bears trailed 5-6 at the midway point. Another Aviator layup pushed their lead to 8-5, but Scanlon, the newest member of the Bears’ 1,000 Point Club, drained a 3-pointer to level the game at 8-8 after one. Avenues would not hold another lead in the game, but it would not be an easy road to victory for The Brook.

The Bear defense bit down in the second frame, yielding just two points, while Jocelyn McCrain drained a pair of 3-pointers and Scanlon added two layups, including one with five seconds left in the half, to carry a 20-10 margin into the break.

The Bears led 20-13 with 4:27 left in the third when Scanlon was shaken up on a collision that sat her down for the remainder of the period. The Aviators capitalized by completing a 10-2 run to close within 20-22. Scarlett Davey answered with a key jumper, and Ava McCormick followed with a putback to push the lead back to 26-20. Avenues cashed another jump shot and then hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer after a costly Bear turnover with only seconds remaining.

Clinging to a 26-25 lead as the fourth quarter began, the Bears would hold avenues to just five points over the final eight minutes. McCrain opened the scoring with a drive and layup, then Scanlon checked back in at the 7:13 mark to elicit a collective exhale from the Swanson faithful, but Avenues pulled back within a point following a layup. Chloe Feldman answered with a huge floater that beat the shot clock, and Scanlon hit a pair of free throws to edge the lead out to 32-27. The teams traded a free throw before McCormick got her own rebound on a missed free throw and fed Scanlon for a layup on a huge play that pushed the Bear lead to seven. Avenues would carve their deficit back to five, but The Brook salted it away with three free throws in the waning moments to seal the win.

The game was a battle that appeared to drain the girls physically and emotionally, but they tapped into their championship reserves to pull it out. Feldman, despite scoring just two points, was a true leader last night as she, time and again, put herself in the right place for a key rebound, deflection, or steal.

Scanlon led all scorers with 17 points and was complimented by McCrain (11), McCormick (6), Davey (2), and Feldman (2). The Bears are back on the court on Friday at Martin Luther as they attempt to wrap up the seventh undefeated league season in team history.


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