Freshman-powered or not, Ewing’s girls basketball team responded when it was behind on Wednesday afternoon in the Colonial Valley Conference top-pod semifinal against Robbinsville, and the Blue Devils are on to Friday’s final.

The top-seeded Blue Devils, after their 60-50 win over the fourth-seeded Ravens, will host third-seeded Allentown on Friday for the CVC’s top spot in the pandemic-shortened season.

“It was a goal that we talked about,” Ewing coach Dan Montferrat said of making the CVC final. “It seems a little surreal amidst everything that’s going on in the world and within our own communities, and how each school district has been really working together to make this season happen. I think it’s a credit to everybody that was involved with all this. Our kids, this was something that I think was always on their minds, that they wanted to do, that they wanted to achieve. They’ve put the time in, they’ve put the effort in, they put the energy in. I couldn’t be happier with their efforts all the way though, and I know that they’re ecstatic heading into this game.”

The CVC pod system was a fill-in for this season, with the usual Mercer County Tournament a concession to the pandemic. The MCT includes schools outside of the CVC, and the final in each of the last three years has been without CVC teams, as Trenton Catholic, Pennington or Stuart Day have filled the spots in the final since 2018. Ewing made back-to-back MCT finals in 2016 and 2017, falling to Notre Dame and West Windsor-Plainsboro North.

This season, Ewing won 53-34 at Allentown 53-34 just on Monday on the way to standing 13-0 with Wednesday’s CVC semifinal win. After Friday’s final, the Blue Devils will close the season on Saturday morning at Stuart Day to reach the maximum 15 allowed games.

Robbinsville, which fell to Ewing 56-40 back on Feb. 3 in Ewing, fell behind 12-5 with just less than three minutes to go in the first quarter as the Blue Devils scored eight straight points to open the early lead. The Ravens, though, had a couple of runs in them in the first half, scoring nine straight points, eight of which came from Allie Neumann, to pull ahead 16-14 near the midway point of the second quarter. A 9-2 run to close the half then put Robbinsville up 27-21 at the break.

Freshmen accounted for 41 of the team’s 60 points on the night, with Rhian Stokes’ 16 points, Joi Johnson’s 13 points, and Te’Yala Delfosse’s 10 points leading the way. Senior Tamia Warner added 10 points, and Johnson had a double-double with 20 rebounds.

That Ewing relies so much on freshmen didn’t keep the Blue Devils from turning it around when they needed to.

“If I had to cap it in one word, it’s resilient. We responded,” Montferrat said. “I challenged them at halftime to change the way things were going. We talk about it all the time, the team that adjusts win games, and we had to make those adjustments, we had to shorten the game from the outside. We were putting up too many threes, forcing some passes on the interior instead of just going up strong and finishing through contact, and that’s what we did much, much better in the second half. We took our time in the second half, but first and foremost, before anything else, we showed great resilience.”

The Blue Devils spent the third quarter erasing Robbinsville’s halftime lead and building their own, including going on a 14-2 run to pull ahead 40-32 with less than two minutes to go in the third. After that, Ewing led by as many as 16 points, at 54-38 near the midway point of the fourth, and Robbinsville got no closer than six points once the Blue Devils went on that game-changing third-quarter run.

Robbinsville fell to 10-3 with the loss, just its second in the team’s last 10 games, and will head to Notre Dame for a Friday consolation game.

Neumann led Robbinsville with 15 points while Kara Keating joined her in double figures with 10 points.

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