BENSALEM >> There’ll be a Plymouth Whitemarsh basketball team in the District One Class 6A final Saturday at The Pavilion.
The Colonials girls withstood a terrific challenge from semifinal foe Central Bucks South, and hung on for a 43-42 win Wednesday night at Bensalem High School, and will face the Abington, a 55-48 winner over Central Bucks West in the other semifinal.
“I cannot believe it,” said Colonials head coach Dan Dougherty moments after Lauren Fortescue’s late free throw delivered PW to the Promised Land. “Our biggest goal this year was to beat Upper Dublin in a league game.
“Never in my wildest dreams did we think we’d be here.”
They nearly weren’t, thanks to a CB South late charge that saw the Titans whittle a nine-point deficit to zero by outscoring PW 11-2 down the stretch.
But with the game tied a 42 with 26 seconds left, the Colonials ran their offense and Fortescue got to the line with just five seconds left. She missed the first of two, but when the second fell through, and the Titans failed to convert at the other end, the Colonials were Villanova-bound.
“You really have to credit (CB South) for battling back like that,” Dougherty said.
But the Titans were in a position to have to battle back because the Colonials took the early lead and refused to yield it until the game’s dying seconds.
The Colonials got out fast and led by nine points (14-5) early in the second quarter.
The scoring was balanced in the first half as both Taylor O’Brien and Laurel Suchsland had six points for PW, while South got a pair of three-balls each from Meghan Kuypers and Haley Meinel.
The lead held at nine through three quarters thanks to the scoring of O’Brien and Lauren Coscia, who combined for seven points in the third period while the Titans managed seven points total.
But in the fourth quarter, chasing nine, the Titans refused to fold.
Meinel exploded for 12 fourth-quarter markers as the Titans just would not go away.
Meanwhile, the Colonials, perhaps feeling the pressure of the moment, managed just two field goals in the final stanza and went a less-than-stellar, 4-for-9 from the free-throw line.
Meinel’s scoring barrage got the Titans into a tie, but Fortescue’s freebie proved the difference.
PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 43, CB SOUTH 42
Central Bucks South 5 14 7 16 — 42
Plymouth Whitemarsh 10 13 12 8 — 43
Central Bucks South: Melissa Veal 1 0-0 2; Meghan Kuypers 3 0-0 9; Haley Meinel 7 3-4 20; Alexa Brodie 3 2-2 10;; Maddie McShane 0 0-0 0; Lexi Edwards 0 0-0 0; Natalie DiSandro 0 1-2 1. Totals 13 6-8 42..
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Taylor O’Brien 3 4-10 10; Lauren Fortescue 2 5-6 7; ;Ali Diamond 2 0-0 5; Laurel Suchsland 3 2-2 11; Lauren Coscia 4 0-1 8; Victoria Betterly 0 0-0 0..
3-pointers Kuypers 3; Meinel 3; Brodie 2; Suchsland 3; Diamond.