Greenwood girls' run ends in state semis

Mar. 19—BERWICK — Leah Ritzman's time with Greenwood girls basketball began when she became the varsity team's manager in seventh grade.

It ended Tuesday night with the Wildcats' 46-23 loss to Mountain View in a PIAA Class A semifinal.

Actually, Ritzman's connection to the program and its fanbase will likely never be severed. Not after she and her teammates matched the program's high-water mark with its stirring postseason run.

"I very proud of it, and I'm just so happy that I got to do this my senior year. It was exciting to accomplish something as big as this," Ritzman said. "It was our first time (in the state semis) since 1987, and still that team of those girls was reaching out and cheering us on, and that just meant so much."

Greenwood, which punched above its weight in all four of its state tournament games as a district fourth-place finisher, traded blows early with a Mountain View squad that lost in last year's state semis by a point on the same Berwick High court. The District 2 champion Eagles forged a bit of breathing room with a five-point halftime lead, and then took advantage of a long Wildcats' scoring drought to race away to the victory.

"You need a little bit of luck, and tonight our luck ran out," said Greenwood coach Jeff Deitz. "I will not take a thing away from Mountain View. That's a good basketball team, and they were better than we were tonight. That's all there was to it.

"We kept it close for awhile, and they hit another gear and we couldn't stay with them."

Mountain View sophomore Addison Kilmer, a 6-foot-1 all-state forward, posted game-high totals of 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. However, her play didn't seem as impactful — she shot 4-of-15 overall (3-for-10 on 3-pointers) and scored just eight points through three quarters — as teammates such as senior Lily Sedlak and junior Ryleigh Kilmer, who each scored nine points, and sophomore Aubrey Sanders, who added five off the bench.

"We just intensified our defense, and our defense is also what fueled our offense," said Eagles coach Bill Simons. "We got out and ran, got some easy buckets to get us going, and some 3s went down finally. Just super-proud of the girls' effort on defense tonight, and offense. They were great all-around."

Sophia Jezewski paced Greenwood with eight points and five rebounds. She and Ritzman each had success against Addison Kilmer in the paint early. Jezewski coaxed one of Kilmer's two first-half fouls and made a free throw, then followed with a putback off a Kilmer block for a 3-2 lead. Ritzman soon made baseline moves and got under Kilmer for back-to-back buckets for a 7-6 edge.

"It was really exciting because we had practiced hard," Ritzman said. "We used our tallest girls, put them up against me, and practiced for that. So it was very exciting to see that work out when it could."

At the end of the first quarter, Ritzman flashed above the left elbow for a jumper that capped the Wildcats' 5-for-11 stanza and put them in front 11-10.

The Eagles shot 4-for-15 in the second quarter but they had eight offensive rebounds, including two in a pivotal sequence late in the half. Ryleigh Kilmer was fouled on a rebound of her own missed 3, and she made the first of two shots. Sedlak rebounded a miss on the second shot, and Sanders converted for a 20-15 lead with two minutes left.

"The things we stress are defense and rebounds," said Addison Kilmer. "We know defense wins games, and we say rebounds win championships. That's so important to us."

Greenwood was scoreless for the final four-plus minutes of the first half after Georjean Rickard drove the left side of the lane for layup and a 15-all tie. The drought continued for 5:23 of the third quarter until Jezewski made a free throw to get the Wildcats within 29-16. Addison Kilmer answered with Mountain View's second 3-pointer of the period after they shot 1-for-9 from distance in the first half.

"In the first half we were a little rough on offense," Addison Kilmer said. "We weren't really running anything. We were just trying to get transition points, but didn't really get any. In the second half we ran some set plays to get open shots."

The Eagles' 9-0 run to start the second half, helped by four Greenwood turnovers, led to a 36-18 score after three periods.

"I would say they came our really ready to play," said Jezewski, who had Greenwood's only three points in a 1-for-9 third-quarter slump. "It seemed like they knew that we come out strong from the locker room after halftime and that they had to come out and rise above us."

Addison Kilmer hit her third 3-pointer on the first shot of the fourth. When her younger sister added a triple two minutes later, the Eagles had made more second-half 3s (four) than 2s (three).

"Defense got us here, and I think that's where we kind of missed tonight," said Deitz. "We weren't as good defensively as we needed to be, and their adjustments were really good, too."

Mountain View (24-4) will play District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle (28-3) in Friday's Class A championship game in Hershey.

Greenwood, which topped two of the three district champions it faced in states, finished 18-12.

"I felt like we knew we could compete with them, but I feel like we didn't play with the confidence we've been playing with in the postseason," said Jezewski. "Once they got ahead, we struggled to bring ourselves back up."




At Berwick High School


Mountain View (24-4) 46

Ryliegh Kilmer 4 0-0 9, Riley Turner 1 1-2 4, Lily Sedlak 2 5-6 9, Claire Getz 2 0-0 4, Addison Kilmer 4 4-4 15, Aubrey Sanders 2 1-4 5. Totals 15 11-16 46.

3-point goals: A. Kilmer 3, R. Kilmer, Turner.

Did not score: Vanessa Harvey, Brooklyn Anderson, Mimi Sedlak, Addison Tompkins.

Greenwood (18-12) 23

Sophie Myers 0 1-2 1, Bekah Brinser 2 0-2 4, Sophia Jezewski 3 2-4 8, Leah Ritzman 3 0-0 6, Sylvia Gantt 1 0-0 2, Georjean Rickard 1 0-0 2. Totals 10 3-8 23.

3-point goals: None.

Did not score: Danica Zurenko, Morgan Hale, Maddy Weller, Isabel Amey, Maura Sarver, Gabi Gantt, Jayden Brosious.

Score by quarters

Mountain View;10;10;16;10 — 46

Greenwood;11;4;3;5 — 23