MORRISVILLE >> This season, New Hope-Solebury (NHS) has been impossible to beat, as they battled through the regular season and first two rounds of the BAL tournament to earn a 24-0 record. Saturday was no different as they used suffocating defense and timely offense to beat Jenkintown 37-30 in the BAL championship game and continue its undefeated season.
“It feels great, especially when you beat a team like Jenkintown because I think they’re the best team we’ve faced all year,’ said NHS head coach Andy Krasna. “They’re really well-coached, their kids can make shots, and they play hard so when you can beat them in a game like this it feels good.”
This wasn’t the first time these two teams had met this season. Earlier in the year Lions had beaten them by 10 points in a back and forth matchup and this game was much of the same.
The challenge for the Drakes coming in was to stop Alana Davidson. The 6’2” NHS center has been fantastic all season long and is the key to their offense and defense. Jenkintown knew if it was going to have any chance at winning, the Drakes would need to slow her down.
They did a good job of getting her in foul trouble early and countering some of her low post moves by switching defenders, holding her to just 12 points and limiting the time she spent on the floor.
“When we watched her film (Davidson’s) we saw that she liked to move right and counter left and we worked on that, said Jenkintown head coach Jim Romano. “We’d rather her catch the ball at the top of the key and play behind her. We had a player shadowing and said if they want to shoot the three we’d rather have them do that than have her go off.’
After a close fought first quarter that ended tied 10-10 it looked like Jenkintown would have a chance to pull away. Davidson picked up her 3rd foul and was pulled from the game for the remainder of the half.
But, to NHS credit it locked down defensively, even without its big center, and prevented any sort of surge from the Drakes.
“What we tried to do when she (Davidson) came out with foul trouble was spread them out and slow down the pace and run some clock,’ said Krasna. “We were fine at that point being up two points at halftime and having so many girls in foul trouble.”
The Drakes couldn’t have asked for much more from their defense, it was their offense that could have used a jumpstart. Ashley Kremp, who finished with 13 points, was the only Jenkintown scorer in double digits and while they were clicking at times on the offensive end, it just wasn’t consistent enough to get the win.
“We played really well on the defensive end but we just didn’t get it done offensively,’’ said Kremp. “Some of our shots just weren’t falling so it was frustrating but we played well defensively.”
Both teams continue their season in districts. NHS will be the No. 2 seed in District 1-AAA while Jenkintown will be the No. 3 seed in the D1-D12 regional.
The Drakes can take pride in their defensive performance, but know that they’ll need to make shots more consistently if they want to have a chance at making some noise in the playoffs.
New Hope-Solebury 37, Jenkintown 30
NEW HOPE-SOLEBURY 10 5 7 15 – 37
JENKINTOWN 10 3 3 14 – 30
New Hope-Solebury (37): Kelly Hyland 2 4-6 8, Alana Davidson 5 2-6 12, Sarah Wilson 1 3-4 5, Bella DiVito 0 2-2 2, Katie Costello 2 3-4 7, Zoe Palan 1 0-0 3.
Totals: 11 14-22 37
Jenkintown (30): Jennifer Kremp 2 0-0 5, Mia Kolb 2 1-4 6, Ashley Kremp 5 0-0 13, Natalie Kolb 0 2-2 2, Caroline Arona 1 0-0 2, Amelia Mulvaney 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 11 3-6 30