Quaker Valley girls basketball team hopes to continue strong start

Friday, January 18, 2019 | 7:42 PM

Quaker Valley’s girls basketball team thought it had a good chance to qualify for the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs this season.

Through the first month of the campaign, the Quakers’ play has shown they can contend for one of Section 2’s four postseason spots.

A 44-41 win at Hopewell put the team at 6-3 through its first nine games. Quaker Valley fell to Keystone Oaks, 31-28, for a 2-2 record through its first four section games, as well.

“It’s really awesome that we’ve done so well early on,” Quaker Valley sophomore point guard Bailey Garbee said. “We’re in a pretty tough section. We’re looking forward to challenging ourselves and pushing through it and maybe taking home some wins we weren’t expecting to.”

The team opened section play with a 65-16 loss to Blackhawk but rebounded to win its next four. The Quakers also dropped recent games to Central Valley and Ambridge to fall to 6-6, 2-4.

“We had a rough game against Blackhawk early on. Since then, it kind of woke up the team and forced us to look at who we are and what we do well. We’re getting into our strengths,” Quaker Valley coach Tom Demko said.

In the middle of that winning streak, the Quakers captured the St. Joseph tournament. They beat Deer Lakes, 48-45, to avenge an earlier 47-25 loss to the Lancers and defeated Riverview, 45-30, for the crown.

“That was really nice. It definitely helped to validate our hard work. It also gave us a lot more confidence, going forward, that we are able to compete at that level,” Garbee said. “Winter break helped, too. We had a lot of time to practice. Now, we have to keep the momentum going.”

Quaker Valley came back from winter break with the section win at Hopewell before the setback to Keystone Oaks.

“It’s nice to win and win early. To come home with a championship felt good. I think it gave us a little jolt going back into section play against Hopewell,” Demko said. “It’s still early, though, and the section is really, really tough. We’re going to be fighting each week. Our goal is to grab one of those playoff spots and be competitive. We’re just focusing on the next game.”

According to Garbee, the Quakers’ young group has continued its progress this season in Demko’s first year leading the squad.

“I think we’ve grown tremendously. We have a couple people who came back to the team that have fit in great and really helped us. I think we’ve grown with Coach Demko, and our skills have improved,” she said. “I think we’re definitely in full sync with the coaches and each other. We know the plays; he knows what to expect of us, and he holds us to high standard.”

Garbee leads a starting five that includes sophomores Corrine Washington and Claire Kuzma and juniors Sophie Besterman and Amy Wilson.

Junior Maura Conlin and sophomores Lily Johns, Juliana Helkowski and Allison Witte have been in the rotation, as well.

“Those four coming off the bench are giving us good minutes,” Demko said. “We feel like we’re building our depth. We’ll definitely need that as we keep playing section games.”

The Quakers just hope to maintain their strong start.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Garbee said. “Usually, it always is, but winning helps and makes it even more fun.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.


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