TOWAMENCIN >> When Boyertown crept to within two in the third quarter, North Penn girls basketball’s Jess Huber and Irisa Ye combined to quickly swing the momentum back into the Knights’ favor Friday night.
Huber buried a three and on the ensuing inbounds Ye came up a steal and a three-point play, rapidly extending a 27-25 edge into 33-25.
“I think we all felt when ‘Ris got that and-1 it was a huge switch,” Huber said. “She’s a playmaker. I mean, she’s going to make plays like that. I think to have a teammate like her is incredible.”
The six points were the start of a 13-3 run that carried over into the fourth quarter as No. 1 seed North Penn earned fifth place in the Distict 1-6A tournament with a 44-36 victory over the visiting No. 2 Bears.
“We were stuck on 11 for quite some time. We called a time out and I don’t know if we scored for a while after that. I felt then we started to make better decisions attacking the basket,” North Penn coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “I thought Irisa Ye came up with a lot of key steals like after they come up with rebounds, defensive rebounds, which kind of broke the game open a little bit in the third quarter.”
Huber, who eclipsed 1,000 career points in North Penn’s win over Garnet Valley Tuesday, finished with a game-high 17 points as the Knights (23-4) head into their sixth straight PIAA tournament to face District 3 third-place side Cedar Crest on Friday, March 10 at a site and time to be announced.
North Penn finished fifth in districts last season and advanced the Class 4A state semifinals.
“Obviously we lost to Abington (in the quarterfinals) and now they’re in the district championship game and our three other ones were pretty convincing wins over good teams,” deMarteleire said. “Unfortunately last Saturday just wasn’t our day. But moving forward, hopefully lessoned learned.”
Katie Armstrong scored 10 points to pace Boyertown (23-4) which in the state first round takes on District 3 runner-up Cumberland Valley.
“You have two of the top teams in District 1 at each other and at the end of the night, we made more mistakes than they did,” Boyertown coach Jason Bieber said. “And they had that little run where Huber hit two threes and they had an and-1.
The Bears led 18-13 in the second quarter after a Tori Boalton 3-pointer but North Penn took the lead for good by ending the half with an 12-1 run — Bri Hewlett scoring all six of her points during the strong finish. Hewlett’s three made it 23-19 while Huber hit two from the foul line for a six-point NP lead at the break.
Ye scored on a drive and was fouled — she could not converted the and-1 — to have the Knights up 27-19 28 seconds in the first half, however Boyertown scored the next six, cutting the margin to 27-25 after a Armstrong short jumper.
Huber’s triple and Ye’s three-point play gave the Knights back a cushion. Armstrong scored to get the Bears to four but Huber collected the third quarter’s last five points for a 38-27 NP advantage entering the fourth.
“In the second half they had a run, like all good teams do,” Huber said. “We just had to combat that and make sure we were going to keep playing our game.”
A Carley Adams jumper gave the Knights’ their largest lead at 42-28 and from there North Penn was fine to burn down the clock. The closest Boyertown could get in the fourth was eight with 12.9 seconds remaining.
“We really never got into our offensive sets they way we should have for whatever reason,” Bieber said. “Part of that is North Penn’s defense, but we just did not execute anything offensively. And on defense I said we played well and then they went on a little 3-point barrage and then we never really recovered.”
Kylie Webb scored the game’s first five points for the Bears but the Knights got going with an 11-1 run — Huber scoring the last seven during the stretch, with her three giving North Penn an 11-6 lead.
Boyertown, however collected the quarter’ final six points, Armstrong’s bucket giving the visitors a 12-11 edge after heading to the second period.
After Boalton’s three made it 18-13 Bears, North Penn rattled off the next seven points, Hewlett’s bucket putting the Knights ahead 20-18. Boyertown cut it 20-19 on an Alli Marcus free throw at 2:12 but NP scored the next five for a 25-19 halftime advantage.
District 1-5A Fifth Place
(1) North Penn 44,
(2) Boyertown 36
Boyertown 12 7 8 9 — 36
North Penn 11 14 13 6 — 44
Boyertown: Katie Armstrong 5 0-1 10; Kylie Webb 3 1-2 9; Tori Boalton 2 1-2 6; Abby Kapp 1 2-2 4; Brynn Schmidt 1 2-2 4; Avery Sweisford 1 0-0 2; Alli Marcus 0 1-2 1. Totals 13 7-11 36.
North Penn: Jess Huber 5 4-4 17; Irisa Ye 4 1-2 9; Bri Hewlett 2 1-3 6; Jess McKenzie 2 2-2 6; Jenny Hulmes 2 0-0 4; Carley Adams 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 8-11 44.
Three-pointers: B-Webb 2, Boalton; NP-Huber 3, Hewlett.