By Summer Patsko
Jada Benjamin’s layup with two seconds left in overtime gave the Valley Forge girls basketball team a 37-36 win over Holy Name on Wednesday. The Patriots improved 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Great Lakes Conference.
Holy Name took a 36-35 lead with 19 seconds left after scoring a layup. Benjamin quickly took the ball down the court, cleared everyone out, and drove to the basket to hit the game-winner.
“Obviously, I wasn’t trying to give them the ball back, so I just tried to get it down. I know I can score within like five seconds so I just tried to block everyone else out, get my space get a matchup I liked and then attack the basket. And once it left my hand I knew it was going in,” said Benjamin
“Overtime was definitely back and forth. Just like that whole game was,” said coach Brittney Matushek. “I know we were tired and we made a big mistake for Holy Name to take the lead at the very end. Thank God Jada found not only confidence, but the courage to make a huge last-minute bucket. The girl was very cool, very calm, took total control over floor and was able to finish on a very nice take to the rim as time expired.”
This was the Patriots’ first game without Lameice El-Madhoun, who was averaging more than 20 points per game. Alysa Coyne started her first varsity game to fill El-Madhoun’s spot and hit the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime
Holy Name took its biggest lead, 33-30, with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter before Coyne’s clutch 3-pointer tied the game at 33-33. That was the score heading into overtime.
“For it being Alysa Coyne’s first start on varsity, and actually, she’s been off for quite some time, so moments like that in the games really define players and shows how hard they’ve really worked,” said Matushek “Alysa Coyne has been working on her game during quarantine and moments like that really do show all of your hard work coming to fruition. It was also big for not only somebody who’s been off for so long, but a sophomore first varsity start to get us back the momentum.”
The Patriots opened up the first quarter with a 10-1 lead but only led 20-18 by halftime. Holy Name took its first lead of the game in the third, 23-22. It was back and fourth after that with the Patriots leading 26-25 at the end of the third.
“So definitely very difficult without Lameice. She was a good portion of our offense averaging a little over 20 points a game. So we really had to find a way to make up for that loss,” said Matushek “I think the posts came up really big, took a lot of shots and were looking to score at the rim which helped a lot.
“Being off for two weeks for quarantine definitely played a role. We’ve lost some consistency due to quarantine and injuries, are definitely out of shape, and it was really hard to make it through four quarters with limited girls again but all the girls really pushed through to finish the game strong.”
The Patriots face Elyria Catholic on Friday, Fairview on Saturday, and host Parma on Monday.