HERSHEY — The class might have changed this year but for the Boyertown Bears, it didn’t matter.
They came out firing and never slowed down in a 50-35 defeat of the three-time defending state champion Cumberland Valley Eagles on Friday evening in Milton Hershey’s Spartan Center.
Cumberland Valley (20-7), the three-time champions in the previous Class AAAA with 12 consecutive victories in the PIAA tournament, struggled to hit shots with any consistency in Friday’s PIAA Class 6A girls basketball opening round.
“We fell behind early and never really recovered tonight,” Eagles head coach Bill Wolf said. “Tonight was not our night and they played better. We got within one and three but couldn’t get over that hump. I want to focus on theses seniors who have three state championships and have been in the state tournament four times. Most kids don’t get the opportunity to get here once.”
District 1 sixth seed Boyertown (24-5) came out and knocked down four of its first six shots to take a 20-6 lead after one quarter, going 4-of-7 from 3-point territory as well.
CV’s Katie Jekot took over and hit an assortment of runners and off balance shots to get the Eagles back into the contest. Kennedy Kuffa drained a jumper at the buzzer to cut the Boyertown lead to 26-23 at the half.
The Eagles rallied in the third quarter to get within one at 31-30 but the Bears out the clamps on after that.
“We talked at halftime of needing to shut down Jekot and getting rebounds,” Bears head coach Jason Bieber said. “Jekot is so good with her assortment of floaters and runners but I just felt Abby (Kapp) and Allison (Marcus) did a great job on (Addi) Kirkpatrick and not allowing her to get into the flow of the game.
“Katie (Armstrong) didn’t play a lot last season but she stepped up and never hesitated to shoot the ball.”
The Eagles got within one, at 31-30, on a Jekot runner but Eagles fouls allowed the Bears to connect on 6-of-7 foul shots to take a 38-31 lead after three quarters.
Armstrong stuck a dagger in the Eagles as she buried a corner trey to extend the Bear lead to double digits, 41-31.
Having to foul, the Bears were able to knock down enough free throws to salt the game away.
Kapp, the Bucknell University recruit, finished with 17 points and Armstrong added 16. The Bears will face District 1’s No. 8 seed Garnet Valley (22-5), 58-43 winners over Scranton, on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Jekot led the Eagles with 18 in her final contest. Kirkpatrick added 15 rebounds in a losing cause.