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Perkiomen Girls Denied Fourth Straight Title
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2016-02-17

Stephanie Falcone breaks through the defensive maneuvers of a Mercy Vocational player to take a shot during the semifinal round of play in the Tri-County League playoffs on Feb. 10.

        In the coming months and years, Stephanie Falcone will wonder how her senior basketball season at Perkiomen School might have ended with a healthy starting lineup.

        "If we would have had all five of our starters for an entire season, no team in the state could keep up with us," Falcone said.

        A 54-19 loss to Collegium Charter School on Feb. 11 in the Tri-County League championship game left the forward wondering about what might have been.

        As the Panthers' starter with the most experience, Falcone said she tried to do too much in their fourth consecutive league title game played at The Hill School in Pottstown.

        "I tried to put all our offense on my shoulders," she said after the season-ending loss. "We all overdid it. We tried too hard. We didn't allow the flow of the game to come to us."

        Maimuna Kenneh finished with a game-high 21 points and 18 rebounds to help the Cougars deny Perkiomen School's fourth consecutive league title. Kenneh, a senior center, posted her 1,000th career point late in the second quarter.

        Kiana Brown added 19 points for Collegium, which scored 19 consecutive points in the second half to extend a 12-7 lead.

        Knee injuries forced Jordan Barth and Helana Tang, two projected starting low post players, to miss the entire season for Perkiomen School. Nicolette Ciocari, the team's point guard, missed a recent stretch with concussion-like symptoms.

        On Wednesday, Kristen Burdo absorbed a season-ending knee injury in a 45-25 semifinal round win over visiting Mercy Vocational.

        According to Falcone, the Panthers would have given Collegium a "run for its money" with Burdo and Ciocari on the floor. With the team at full strength, she concluded that they would have made a deep run the state tournament.

        Following a win over Renaissance Academy in the opening round of the league playoffs on Feb. 8, the depleted team took another hit the following day. Burdo, one of Perkiomen School's top scorers, suffered a dislocated knee cap midway through the third quarter.

        According to Falcone, the injury rattled the players. She said Burdo, who scored 13 points before being carried off the court, told her teammates to win the game.

        Falcone felt the need to take control. She finished with a game-high 21 points.

        In the league title game, the Panthers recovered from a slow start. Falcone's 3-point basket capped a 7-0 flurry and pulled them within 12-7 at the end of the first quarter.

        But in the second quarter, the Cougars reeled off 19 straight points. Kenneh posted 10 points and seven rebounds during the run.

        Minori Takahashi's basket at the buzzer accounted for the Panthers' only points in the quarter and got them within 31-9 at halftime.

        "At that point, I thought we had a shot," head coach Randy Littlefield said. "We knew that by making a few more shots we could make it interesting. "We needed a little luck to keep it close."

        According to the coach, Perkiomen School's players came into the title game in pretty good spirits feeling confident despite being overmatched. He said the team was playing with "house money."


 

 

 

 

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