By: Jake Gray

The Pennsbury High School Girls’ Basketball team crushed Council Rock South on Thursday night at home, with a final score of 59-35.

Falcon sophomore guard Ava Sciolla was unstoppable all game. No matter where she was on the court, she was dominant. Excellent at driving to the rim and finishing in traffic, she’s the last person you want to see coming off a screen to the basket. Even when fouled she’s effective, shooting three for three from the line in this one. If her inside game wasn’t fearsome enough, she was quite the respectable shooter, hitting two three’s to add to her 22 total points.

What can’t be underrated, however, is her playmaking ability. The attention she requires in the paint allows opportunities for her to kick out to outside shooters. Just when you think  she’s covered (often with three girls collapsing in on her) she’ll whip a pass through a tight window, leading to great looks for other Falcons. That’s all without mentioning her ability to hurl passes from one end of the court to the other, landing in the hands of any open Falcon.

Just as dominant as Sciolla was, senior forward Mary Miller had a fantastic game, scoring 17 points (and only needing one half to do it). Miller plays with such an incredible finesse. She can shake off defenders before driving, create her own shots (and hit them), as well as push the ball up the court off the fast break. One particular play that stands out came early in the 3rd quarter. Miller brought the ball down low, drove one way before spinning all the way around and dropping off an easy lay-up. She’s incredibly nimble and excels at keeping the defense off balance, with or without the ball in her hands. Her and Sciolla were an unstoppable duo, combining to score 39 — 66% of the Falcons’ 59.

The whole Falcons team fits perfectly together. Sure, Sciolla and Miller were the leading scorers, but their offense is a team effort. Junior guard Bella Arcuri helped squash a failed Golden Hawks’ attempt to revitalize their offense in the 3rd quarter, scoring nine of her 11. Everyone on the team, however, was crucial in their blowout win. Junior centers Mia Spinelli and Lauren Dignan led to a lot of second chance points for the Falcons through their rebounding, and their interior defense was vital in shutting down Council Rock South.

While the Falcons had fantastic offensive successes, the Golden Hawks were not as fortunate. Initially, it looked as though they may be able to put up a good fight, ending the first quarter with a score of 14 to 14. They were shooting well, moving the ball effectively, and playing hard. Junior guard Nicole Blaustein led the way early, racking up six in the first (she would finish the game with 11, Council Rock South’s leading scorer).

However, the tide quickly turned. The Falcons were lockdown, giving up only three points in the second quarter. It’s worth noting that they would do so again in the fourth. It’s no shock that this team, holding teams to an average of 25% FG and 25.3 PPG at home, would be tough to score on, but what those numbers don’t express is how suffocating their defense is. They play like a swarm of bees; closing off passing lanes, snuffing out attempts to get inside, and making quick rotations.

The crown jewel of their defense? Their ability to break up passes and pickpocket ballhandlers. If you make a pass, take a shot, or even so much as dribble, you’re already in trouble: the Falcons are coming, and they want the ball. Their smothering defense not only ruined several good looks for the Golden Hawks; it created some instant offense of their own. The ball will already be falling through the basket before you’ve noticed it left your hands.

All in all, this game was a masterclass run by Pennsbury. Council Rock South did start out hot, but their inability to prevent the Falcons from scoring as well as a failed attempt to gel as an offense and consistently hit shots led to their crushing downfall.

Winning their sixth straight, they improved to 16-3 on the season with a 10-1 league record, standing only behind the 9-0 Neshaminy Redskins. Council Rock South falls to 9-10, with a 5-5 league record.