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Patnode Leads Panthers to Historic Win
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2023-02-22

            Lauren Patnode imposed her defensive dominance late in the third quarter during Perkiomen School's opening round game in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament last weekend. She converted a pair of foul shots late in the fourth quarter to help her team secure a historic victory.

Jaycee Merizalde, right, battles for a loose ball

against Academy of the New Church.  Merizalde

helped lead Perkiomen School to a state playoff

win last weekend.

            Patnode made enough plays down the stretch to help lead the Panthers to a 56-53 victory over Academy of the New Church on Friday, Feb. 17. The 6-foot junior finished with a season-high 33 points. Six came in the final eight minutes to help secure their first-ever victory in the state tournament.

            "I'm more excited for the girls than for me," Perkiomen School head coach Kerrie Kosakowski said. "They made the plays. They are all part of school history."

            On Saturday, the Panthers were eliminated from the tournament. They suffered a 57-25 loss to Friends' Central, the No. 3 seed.

            One day earlier, Patnode delivered 17 points in the second half to help Perkiomen School, the No. 6 seed, stave off a late rally by the visiting Lions. The Saratoga Springs, N.Y. resident scored 11 points during the final 67 seconds of the third quarter, including three layups off steals near midcourt.

            Patnode converted a pair of free throws to cap her team's scoring with 31.7 seconds remaining and extend its lead to 56-51 at the Hollenbach Athletic Center. Xola Wade's basket off a steal pulled ANC within 56-53 with 8.1 remaining.

            "We took advantage of her experience," Kosakowski said of Patnode, who contributed six rebounds, four assists and four blocks. "We expect her to be a leader, and she played that way."

            The No. 11-seeded Lions had a chance to force overtime after Jaycee Merizalde missed the front end of a one-and-one less than a second later. But Arianna Frank's shot at the other end of the court bounced off the rim as time expired.

            "It certainly wasn't pretty," Kosakowski said. "But we did what was necessary to win. We really had to gut this out."

            Merizalde posted 15 points for the Panthers (12-12). Mia Stock added six points. Jamie Murray, a junior from Douglassville, delivered the team's only other basket.

            Kosakowski admitted that she wasn't expecting another home game this season. Patnode said she was resigned to finishing on the road.

            Perkiomen School made the most of its home-court advantage early, building an 18-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Merizalde scored eight points in the quarter.

            ANC trimmed its deficit to 20-17 midway through the second quarter. However, an eight-point flurry by Patnode stretched the Panthers' edge back to 33-21 at halftime.

            Midway through the third quarter, the Lions got within 33-31 on a layup by Zarah Synnestvedt. Then Perkiomen School ended the quarter on a 15-4 run.

            Patnode delivered 11 of those points, including three layups directly off three consecutive steals near half court. She added a layup, off a pass from Merizalde on the fast break, early in the fourth quarter to put her team ahead 50-35. Kosakowski positioned Patnode at the top of a 3-2 half-court trap to take advantage of her unusually long reach.


 

 

 

 

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