Photos Provided by Dave Conard. For more sports pics, check out his site at: www.drcphoto.org
Also, make sure you click "Video" in the media section of this article for a full-length video of all of the girls celebrating their big win!
The girls basketball team won the PAC-10 Championship on Wednesday night after defeating the Methacton Warriors, 62-33. It is their first PAC-10 title since 2008. It was a season that only marked two losses in the team's 23-game journey. Despite last year's heartbreaking loss to Boyetown in the title game, head coach Jeff Rinehimer said the girls lived in the moment in 2011-12.
"It's a different year - you kind of don't mention what happened last year - Boyertown won the last two and it's over," said Rinehimer. "You have to move on. You have to take it and live in the moment."
After winning 17 straight before Wednesday night's contest, the girls opened the first quarter much like they did in the in the semifinals of the Final Four tournament - aggressive. They employed the full court press and fulfilled the ever-popular slogan: "Defense wins championships."
"That was one of our main focuses - get the same quick, aggressive start as the Phoenixville game," said senior guard . "We got that. That fueled us for the rest of the game. We didn't let down."
After the game, Lynch was gleaming, along with senior cohorts and Jaida Burgess, who both also made major contributions to the game.
"It's amazing, especially being with Mariah and going through this all four years," Lynch said. "The hard work finally paying off is just an amazing feeling. We know how each other plays and it's an advantage for us. We're really lucky to be on this team."
Lynch scored three points in the game, picked up a rebound and stole one from the Warriors. Traywick led the team in points with 13 and rebounds with 7. She said she was determined, along with her teammates.
"It means so much," said Traywick. "This team and I, we're all close. We're like a family. To share it with them, I couldn't imagine a better team to share it with. I had to do what's needed. We all wanted it so bad and we all contributed. We did what was best for the team."
Burgess scored nine points and was proactive in disrupting the passing lanes every minute she played. Although Burgess hadn't shared all of the last four years with the girls on the Spring-Ford squad (she came from Idaho), she felt at home all season long.
"I haven't really played on many school basketball teams and I regret it," said Burgess. "This is the best experience of my life. Playing on a team that's so great and that has potential to do so much. I know we're going to go so far. This is absolutely amazing to go undefeated in the conference and ranked number one in the state. How well this team plays together, I'm glowing right now."
Rinehimer confirmed how important his bench is, which accounted for 21 points, seven of the team's 29 rebounds, and four of its nine steals.
"They bring good energy off the bench," Rinehimer said. "The bench is very important to us. The bench is something that wins games. The starters are the icing on the cake."
The Lady Rams didn't allow Methacton to score a single point until almost halfway through the second quarter. at that point, they led by 30 points. At halftime, the Warriors had to make some adjustments and came out more aggressive than the first 16 minutes.
"They came at us hard," Traywick said. "They came out with heart. The big thing was our defense. We came out with strong defense and I guess it threw them off a little bit, but they came right back at us."
Still, Spring-Ford didn't let up. they scored 20 more points in the second half to solidify their place in Spring-Ford and PAC-10 history. All season long, the Rams outscored their PAC-10 opponents by 32.6 points per game on average.
Rinehimer paid homage to his assistant coaches, as well, Mickey McDaniel (also the athletic director), Jeff Mast, Geoff Kahler and Randy Doaty - each bringing something unique to the table in helping to make this team a unified force in Southeastern Pennsylvania girls basketball.
The girls are seeded third in the district tournament, which is this Saturday. They'll face 30th-ranked Chichester.
"Now it's another new season and we're just going to have to keep focused," Rinehimer concluded. "Now we have new challenges. We just have to keep doing what we do at practice and keep preparing."
Mariah Traywick - 13
Brittany Moore - 11
Jaida Burgess - 9
Sarah Payonk - 8
Sammy Stipa - 5
Sammi Haas - 4
Courtney Hinnant - 4
Kirsten Landis - 3
Nikki Lynch - 3
Shelby Mueller - 2
Traywick - 7
Payonk - 5
Moore - 4
Hinnant - 4
Stipa - 2
Haas - 2
Mueller - 2
Landis - 1
Lynch - 1
Maggie Locke - 1
Burgess - 1
Stipa - 4
Payonk - 4
Haas - 2
Burgess - 1
Hinnant - 1
Traywick - 1
Stipa - 3
Burgess - 2
Moore - 1
Lynch - 1
Mueller - 1