READING, Pa. - After being eliminated in the first round of the state tournament in each of the last two years, the Central Bucks West girls' basketball team came into this season determined to achieve its full potential.
Now, the hungry Bucks are within one victory of reaching their ultimate goal. With Mackenzie Carroll leading the way in the first half, and Nicole Munger taking over in the second, they topped District 3's Palmyra, 61-55, in a PIAA Class AAAA semifinal Tuesday night at the Geigle Complex.
"It's just an awesome accomplishment," C.B. West coach Terry Rakowsky said. "The girls have worked so hard to get here. They're deserving of this."
Carroll sparked the Bucks in the first half with 16 points, three steals, and two assists. Munger went on a tear after intermission, registering 12 of her game-high 21 points in the third quarter, as the District 1 champs took a 50-40 advantage.
Slowed by two first-quarter fouls, Munger, a 5-foot-10 standout who is headed to Michigan, was held to six points in the opening 16 minutes.
"At halftime, I said to Nicole, 'It's your time to shine,' " Rakowsky said. "She was awesome. It was fun to watch."
C.B. West (32-1) will take on District 3's Cumberland Valley (31-1), a 56-40 winner Tuesday over District 7's Norwin, for the championship at 6 p.m., Friday, at Hershey's Giant Center.
Carroll, a Colgate recruit who finished with 19 points, shot 6 for 11 from the field (4 for 6 from beyond the arc) before the break.
Corinne Godshall was a major contributor as well. The 5-11 forward produced 11 points, including two second-quarter putbacks; nine rebounds; four assists; and two blocks.
"She's tough," said Rakowsky, whose team overcame 23 turnovers. "She can drive, she can handle, we have her bring the ball up sometimes, and she's got good hands. She's a matchup problem for most teams."
Maggie Rakowsky, the coach's daughter, chipped in a first-quarter trey, three rebounds, and two assists off the bench.
Molly Gundermann paced the Cougars (27-5) with 15 points, including three treys and five rebounds.
Palmyra 14 15 11 15 - 55
Central Bucks West 15 17 18 11 - 61
P: Molly Gundermann 15, Marisa Tukis 12, Kristen Smoluk 10, Katie Dembrowski 3, Kathryn McClellan 6, Josie Stovall 9.
CBW: Mackenzie Carroll 19, Peyton Traina 1, Makenzie Mason 6, Corrine Godshall 11, Nicole Munger 21, Maggie Rakowsky 3.