By Rohan Gandhi, Guest Reporter
It was never supposed to happen.
By many accounts, this team should have never even made it to the state playoff. Senior Ellie Mack should have never scored over 1,000 points in her Conestoga career.
“When I tore my ACL my freshman year it really dampened the hope of scoring 1,000 points. I talked with my dad and said I wasn’t going to go for 1,000 points because I didn’t want to be selfish with the ball,” Mack said.
But it happened anyway. Despite all the doubts and setbacks, Mack was able to score 1,001 points in her Conestoga career and the team made it to the second round of the state playoff.
The game itself started off with little scoring as both defenses forced the ball out on the perimeter. Each score by the Garnet Valley Jaguars was matched by the Pioneers as time ticked away in the first quarter. After the Jaguars took a 16-10 lead into the second quarter, senior Liz Atwood hit a 3-pointer almost immediately to force the Pioneers right back into the game. The bonus quickly became a factor in a physical game with 18 fouls called between the two teams in the first half. Scoring picked up in the second quarter but then stopped again as defense ruled the day.
The Pioneers trailed 20-25 going into the second half as scoring went back and forth. However, the Jaguars managed to increase their lead significantly as the game went further into the fourth quarter. While Garnet Valley had the game well in hand with just over three minutes left to play, the Pioneers had not finished business on the court. On a simple jump shot, similar to hundreds over her four years at Conestoga, Mack made a 2 point field goal to put her career scoring total at 1,001 points.
Coach Chris Jeffries immediately called a timeout to allow Mack to celebrate with her teammates. An emotional Mack stood in the center of a mass of bodies as her team ran to join her in a giant congratulatory hug for her milestone accomplishment.
The game ended with Garnet Valley winning 60-42. Coach Jeffries took advantage of a late timeout to put in all four of his seniors, Liz Atwood, Sondra Dickey, Sara Hottenstein and Ellie Mack, one more time in their high school careers.
After the game, Mack credited her teammates for enabling her to score over 1,000 points.
“My team got me here. Somehow they were able to win all these games and I could not have done it without them. Every single girl on our team and on the bench stepped up. We probably had the hypest bench in the Central League and in the state and I couldn’t have done it without them.” said Mack.
The game marks the end of an historic season for Conestoga girls basketball. The team made it to the second round of states following a huge upset of Nazareth High School.
“That was probably the biggest game of my entire career and the most fun I’ve ever had” Mack said. We had the right team, right girls and right coach this year. We came together and I accomplished something in my career that I have always wanted, having never won a state game before.”
Reflecting not only on the season, but on her four years at Conestoga, Mack felt that the seniors “really changed the culture here.”
“When we came in it wasn’t the best place to play basketball but we changed that by bringing the intensity in practice. We really changed how Conestoga basketball operated,” Mack said.
Reporter’s Note: As this is my last article about basketball, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the Conestoga girls and boys basketball teams for their help this season. Whether I needed pictures, statistics, game results, schedules, or interviews, anyone I asked was incredibly helpful and willing. It has been an honor to cover the teams this season.