Prep Charter finds energy after long ride

Prep Charter's Bria Young (right) steals the ball from St. Basil's Jacqui Thompson in a first-round Class AAA win March 12.
Prep Charter's Bria Young (right) steals the ball from St. Basil's Jacqui Thompson in a first-round Class AAA win March 12.
Posted: March 21, 2011

Prep Charter coach Paul Rieser was panicking. His team was at the South Philadelphia school on Saturday, waiting for a bus to take the squad to Norristown for a game in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAA girls' basketball playoffs.

"We waited and we waited," Rieser said. "Then we called."

Still no bus. Fortunately, there were a couple of Philadelphia School District vans available. The team piled in but hit some heavy traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway before eventually getting to Norristown High. The bus pulled into the Norristown parking lot at 2:24 p.m. The game with Oley Valley, the District 3 champion, was scheduled to tip off at 2:30.

The Huskies got a break when the boys' Class AAAA game ahead of them ran long.

PIAA officials gave Prep Charter, the second-place team from District 12, some extra time to get ready, and Oley Valley had no problem with that.

"I have to tip my hat to Oley Valley. They were great about the situation," said Rieser, who watched his team come back from a 25-21 halftime deficit with a 17-5 third quarter run to win going away, 63-40.

"We had some dead legs from sitting on the bus," he noted. "They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. We finally got into our rhythm."

The Huskies (24-2) became the first Public League girls' team to reach the PIAA semifinals.

Typical of the Huskies reaction to adversity was senior Bria Young. She got kicked in the right leg and had to come out of the game.

"There's no way I'm staying out," she told Rieser. She finished with eight points.

Prep Charter advanced to the semifinals Wednesday night against Archbishop Wood (24-4) at a site and time to be determined. Wood is ranked No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer. Prep Charter is No. 3.

"They're only the best Class AAA team in the state," Rieser said of the defending state champions, who beat his team, 44-34, in the regular season. "They play monster defense. But we can play some pretty good defense, too. I'm happy that we have a chance to play them."

Boyertown abuzz. Jason Bieber is in only his second season as the Boyertown girls' coach, but he's got the old Berks County mill town abuzz. The 24-4 Bears pulled off the shocker of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs Friday night with a 42-41 win over District 1 champion Mount St. Joseph (24-4) to reach Tuesday night's 6 p.m. semifinal against Archbishop Carroll at Spring-Ford.

"It's been a heck of a year," Bieber said in a slight understatement. "The girls have bought into our program and are playing great right now."

How committed is this team? Take senior Jess Schlesman as an example. She flew Wednesday to Disney World for her senior class trip but flew back Friday to play in the game against the Magic. After the game, she flew back to Florida to catch the last couple of days of the trip.

Schlesman had 18 points in the win. Sophomore Kaitlyn Eisenhard has been contributing about 12 points a game.

Playoff schedule. In another Class AAAA playoff game Tuesday night, Lower Merion, the fourth-place team from District 1, takes on Mount Lebanon at Chambersburg at 6 p.m.

In Class A play, District 1 champ Delaware County Christian (26-1), plays Steelton-Highspire at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Muhlenberg.


The Inquirer TOP 10

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Team Record

Records are through Saturday.

Last week's rankings in parentheses.

1. Arch. Wood (1) 24-4

2. Germantown Ac. (2) 24-5

3. Prep Charter (4) 24-2

4. Arch. Carroll (5) 21-6

5. Lower Merion (NR) 23-5

6. Boyertown (NR) 27-4

7. Cardinal O'Hara (7) 21-6

8. Penn Charter (8) 21-3

9. Mt. St. Joseph (3) 27-4

10. Cheltenham (10) 24-5

Under consideration: Delaware County Christian (26-1).

- Don Beideman


Contact staff writer Don Beideman at 267-815-0733

or dbeideman@phillynews.com.

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