Central Bucks West sophomore guard Emily Spratt was in the right place at the right time Wednesday night. For that, the Bucks can be grateful.
In a District 1 Class 6A girls’ basketball semifinal playoff game at Souderton, Spratt knocked down two crucial free throws with 12.9 seconds left, then blocked a last-second shot by Spring-Ford star Lucy Olsen with 2 seconds remaining to help lift the Bucks past the Rams, 49-45.
With the win, No. 2 seed West (23-3) advances to the district title game against No. 3 seed Pennsbury on Saturday at Temple University’s Liacouris Center at 5 p.m. Pennsbury beat Plymouth Whitemash to advance.
It is the first trip to the championship game for West since 2015 when the Bucks beat Abington, 59-46. Number. 3 seed Spring-Ford (23-4) will play at top-seed Plymouth Whitemarsh for third place in a playback game on Friday.
With West senior star and Penn State-bound Maddie Burke being tightly guarded and held to just four points, it was important for Spratt (12 points) and senior guard Olivia Irons (15 points) to step up, and they didn’t disappoint.
Olsen, a junior point guard who is getting offers from several Division I programs, tied the game, 40-40, with a pair of free throws with 2 minutes, 54 seconds left. But with 2:36 on the clock, Irons dropped in a three-pointer from left of the key to give the Bucks the lead for good, 43-40. She then converted a free throw 37 seconds later to increase West’s lead to 44-40.
But the Rams didn’t go away. Alyssa Yuan (8 points) drained a free throw, and Gabs Alessandroni (7 points) added a left baseline drive for a basket with 1:02 remaining to cut the Bucks lead to one point, 44-43. After a pair of free throws by Burke with 45 seconds left, Spring-Ford again cut the lead to one with a Yuan follow shot.
After Burke missed the front of a one-and-one foul, West got the ball back, and Spratt was fouled with 12.9 seconds left and her team holding a 46-45 lead. “I was super scared,” Spratt said. “But thank God they went in.”
The Rams had one last shot to tie the game. Olsen (14 points) was in the left corner, took a pass, turned and tried to get a shot off. But Spratt blocked the three-point attempt. Bucks senior forward Jess Broskey picked up the loose ball then closed out the scoring with a free throw with 1.8 seconds left.
“I was just putting my hand up, and I was honestly surprised that it hit my hand,” Spratt said. “So it wasn’t like I was trying to block her. It just happened.”
“She’s an absolute gamer,” West coach Zach Sibel said of Spratt. “For her to step up like that on both ends ... Defensively we always ask her to cover the other team’s best player, and she always steps up. I couldn’t be prouder of that kid. She’s awesome.”
Spring-Ford 11 7 14 13 - 45
Central Bucks West 9 11 9 20 - 49
S-F: Lucy Olsen 14, Skylar Sullivan 10, Alyssa Yuan 8, Gabs Alessandroni 7, Emily Tiffan 4, Mac Maloney 2.