BY CHRIS HOOKER, SPORTS EDITOR
There’s nothing better than going out with a bang.
Susquehanna’s women’s basketball team did just that Saturday afternoon as their seniors took the floor for one last time.
“Everyone just keeps on asking me, ‘What’s it like to be done?’” said Gina Palazzi, following a nine point, 10 rebound performance in the Crusaders 65-59 win over Merchant Marine. “It’s not a good feeling. It’s an unsettling feeling. I’m glad we went out with the win, but it’s like the weirdest feeling that you will never compete in a team sport again.”
It was seniors Palazzi, Shannon Grunwald and Ainsley Rossitto who led the team in the comeback to victory.
Down 30-26 at the half, head coach Jim Reed knew he needed to see an improvement in the final 20 minutes if they wanted to end their season on a high note.
“We shot not a great percentage in the first half, but in the second half, we shot 42 percent,” he said. “It was a whole management situation in the entire game because both teams were in foul trouble. It was a game of runs.”
Grunwald was instrumental in the win, scoring 26 points along with 10 rebounds. A double-double to finish off her career.
“She had a big game,” Reed said.
At the 17-minute mark, Merchant Marine increased their lead to nine points and led by five at 14-minutes.
Palazzi, who had been out the entire half with three fouls was then put back onto the floor and provided an immediate spark. A 6-0 run was had by the Crusders to put the game in reach.
“There were three really big plays toward the end of the game,” Reed said. “One was we made a defensive substitution on Grunwald and Bree Murphy came in and took a charge on their PG. That was a huge possession. Then, we actually went to the free throw line at one point and we missed two free throws, but Gina got an offensive rebound off the free throw miss. Then, in the last minute, we had a possession where Moriah Monahan ended up making a three-point shot. Those were three pretty big plays that ended up putting the icing on the cake for the win.”
Despite the end of season record, both Palazzi and Reed weren’t willing to call the final result a disappointment.
“Our record doesn’t show how well we played,” Palazzi said. “I’m happy with the outcome of the season, I’m happy with how together our team was.”
“Obviously you want to make the playoffs. But, I’m not disappointed as a way we developed and played. Sure, your goal, but did you achieve your potential? That’s the bottom line.”