VOORHEES -- Moorestown Friends’ South Jersey Invitational Basketball Tournament win Friday marked individual and team progression in the competition.
Bella Runyan, a Villanova commit, broke the tournament’s all-time scoring record while pushing the Foxes into their first-ever SJIBT title game.
Runyan, a senior, and sophomore Veyoni Davis scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of the 44-41 win over Eastern to solidify a spot in Sunday’s championship.
“That just shows how much we build every single year because every year we’ve moved one game ahead,” Runyan said. “Sophomore year we lost in the elite eight, last year we lost in the final four and we haven’t lost yet this year. That shows our program getting stronger and us being able to work as a team and get more experience and dig deep in games like that.”
Eastern held the lead for most of the first half and third quarter before the Foxes took control of the contest through Runyan.
In the process, Runyan broke the scoring mark previously held by Gloucester Catholic’s Mary Gedaka.
The record-breaking moment in the third period carried extra meaning for Runyan, who is headed to a Villanova program where Gedaka currently plays.
“It’s an honor, especially because Mary plays where I’m going to play next year,” Runyan said. “That was really cool for me. She’s an amazing player so to be able to break her record, I don’t really believe it because I’ve looked up to her a lot and how aggressive she plays.”
The achievement also handed Runyan an extra boost of confidence as the Foxes broke away on the scoreboard while playing lock down defense.
“It gives me a little bit more confidence in the middle of the game when we were playing a little sluggish so it means a lot,” Runyan said.
The next step in Moorestown Friends’ progression could be a title it could earn Sunday afternoon.
After grinding out wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals, the Foxes are as prepared as they could be.
“We’ve been grinding out wins like that,” Runyan said. “We did that in the Elite Eight game and what makes our team is we dig deep in games when we’re not playing well. We don’t let that get to our head and we don’t get frustrated with each other or ourselves. We just dig deep and find a way to get a win.”