By GIUSEPPE UNGARO Managing Editor GALLOWAY TWP. – For three-and-a-half quarters, the Absegami High School girls basketball gave no reason to believe it could score points in bunches, let alone make up a seven-point deficit in four minutes. The Braves did that and much more. The Braves’ desire to win on their home court and win the annual Coaches vs. Cancer game against visiting Egg Harbor Township sparked a fourth-quarter rally in a 36-28 win. “I felt the energy level started to change,” said Absegami forward Eva Sodaitis, who scored eight fourth-quarter points. “I felt like we were not going to leave here without a win.” “We told the team to refuse to lose on our home court,” Absegami coach Meghan Tracey said. “We lost to Mainland on our home court and I knew how upset we were about that. I knew they didn’t want to lose again. And we hit foul shots down the stretch. It could have gone either way. Either team could have won.” Absegami’s Eva Sodaitis looks for a teammate to pass to as EHT’s Carley Pappas defends during ‘Gami’s win over the Eagles on Monday in Galloway Township. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) The Eagles, despite making their only field goal of the first half by beating the second-quarter buzzer on a long 3-pointer by sophomore guard Danielle Henry, seemed to be on their way to a win. Egg Harbor Township led, 26-19, with a little more than four minutes remaining. However, the Braves had one last run in them. Sara Pietropola started the flurry on a layup with an assist from Julia Dolan. The basket started a 9-0 run. Sodaitis powered her way to a basket in the post, and Dolan followed immediately with a steal and a layup to cut the Eagles’ lead to one with 3:17 left. Sodaitis, who finished with 11 points, scored 27 seconds later to put the Braves up for good. Absegami finished the game with a 17-2 spurt. Pietropola scored five points in the final four minutes. “My team picked me up and I don’t know what I would do without them,” Sodaitis said. “We got the momentum going. I didn’t want to lose. The team didn’t want to lose. We pushed through.” Absegami was 7-for-9 from the charity stripe in the final 2:35 to help seal the win. “They are a good free-throw shooting team,” EHT coach Karen Shutz said. “Once they get ahead of you, it is hard to come back when they are hitting foul shots.” Egg Harbor Township players line up for the national anthem wearing T-shirts honoring former coach Beth Hartman. Meaghan Mahana kept the Eagles in the game, as the offense struggled early. Mahana was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line in the first half and led the team with 13 points and nine rebounds. The Eagles’ only bucket of the first half came on Henry’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Despite their shooting woes, EHT trailed by just one, 12-11, at the half. Carley Pappas scored with 1:52 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 17. The basket began an 11-2 run for the Eagles. “The difference was that they started to believe they could play with Absegami,” Shutz said. “Absegami is a good team. That gave us a lift. They continued to battle and play hard. They did for the entire game.” NOTES: This was the fifth year the teams have joined forces to raise funds for the American Cancer Society in memory of former EHT coach Beth Hartman, who passed away in 2007 … Absegami’s Arielle Schafer pulled down 10 rebounds. Contact Giuseppe Ungaro: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDgisepu
About The Author
Sully, as he’s known throughout South Jersey, began his newspaper career in 1995 and has worked for some of New Jersey’s top papers, including The Asbury Park Press and Press of Atlantic City, as a writer and editor. He’s earned several New Jersey Press Association awards and continues to produce high quality reporting, writing and photography. A native of Ocean County, Sully played high school baseball at Lacey Township High and college baseball at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. After a successful 15-year career in the newspaper business, Sully launched Glory Days Magazine in 2013 and for nearly a decade has been bringing fans outstanding and insightful coverage of high school sports throughout South Jersey.
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