Quaker Valley girls basketball hopes to build on signature win over section rival

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Sunday, January 17, 2021 | 9:01 AM


The Quaker Valley girls basketball team has great expectations this year.

They want to lift WPIAL gold and hang a championship banner in their gym.

In order to do that, though, coach Tom Demko and the Quakers knew that they would have to get a few signature wins throughout their season in order to build their confidence. On Jan. 12, the Quakers got one of those wins as senior Bailey Garbee scored 32 points to lead her team past Section 2-4A rival Blackhawk, 63-51, to secure their first victory of the season.

“They are just so well-coached, and they have such a great program there year after year, they are the ones you have to beat in order to achieve what you want to, move forward and come up with some confidence,” Demko said. “A win like that is huge, a win like that this early in our season maybe even bigger because of how we can build on it.”

After Gov. Tom Wolf put a three-week pause on high school athletics in mid-December, the Quakers returned to practice to prepare for a matchup with Hampton on Jan. 8. Leading up to the game, the girls were able to get four solid practices in as they got back into shape after the layoff.

But their game with Hampton ended up getting postponed, and the Quakers were able to get in a few more practices that allowed them to prepare even more for an important matchup with Blackhawk.

“We went six practices before we played again, and we just got really pumped up to prepare for a team like Blackhawk and a section game,” Demko said. “It was exciting.”

Although those extra practices were beneficial in regards to preparing for Blackhawk, the Quakers were also able to work on a few things they had encountered during their first loss of the season.

Before Wolf’s pause, the Quakers were able to get one game in, but they suffered a 48-40 defeat against Penn Hills. Demko said it helped them over the break and also allowed them to grow moving forward.

“That loss helped us, and we took a look at some things and preparing for Hampton, they kind of have a similar style to Blackhawk, so in preparation for Hampton, I think that helped us add a few extra practices geared towards that style of play as well,” Demko said.

While Garbee poured in the points against the Cougars for Quaker Valley’s first win of the season, another positive thing to come out of an important victory was the fact that it was a team win.

Demko said Garbee created several turnovers with defensive pressure and was assertive on the offensive end, but she also benefited from the play of her teammates.

“With the line that Bailey had in that game, she deserves a lot of attention, but it felt like a really good team win,” Demko said. “All coaches will say that they’ll take that feeling beyond anything after a game when everyone is contributing.”

Now, the Quakers are looking to take another step forward and a win over Blackhawk was just the beginning for what they want to accomplish moving forward.

“We’re excited to know that we’re not just able to hang in there with a great team, but come out on top,” Demko said. “It’s going to do a lot for our confidence, our trust in each other, and our team unity.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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