CHELTENHAM >> The Plymouth Whitemarsh girls basketball team beat JP McCaskey, 62-41, in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A state tournament Friday night at Cheltenham High School. It was the school’s first state playoff win since 1997.
The Colonials were on fire from three-point range the entire game. Four different players hit from long-distance for a total of 10 triples. Lauren Fortescue made four, Taylor O’Brien three, Laurel Suchsland two and Ali Diamond one.
“What we tried to do was stretch their zone out,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said. “I want to say we had seven or eight threes in the first half by three or four different kids. (McCaskey is) a really good zone trapping team. We wanted to make that extra pass and beat them with a three and that forced them to go man. We’re a difficult team to play in man.”
It did not take (1-2) Plymouth Whitemarsh long to pull away. Fortescue scored 12 points in the first quarter and O’Brien had seven and they led by 10, 22-12, after eight minutes. They made five threes in the quarter to build the double-digit advantage.
“I was really excited and I got lucky with that bank, actually,” Fortescue said of her big first quarter, referencing a three she made off the glass. “It was kind of just automatic. I wasn’t really thinking about it so I think that helped.”
“Both teams it was their first state playoff game,” Dougherty added. “It was going to be which team came out and got up first. I thought that was the difference. Us getting up first – they started to rush their offense.”
The long-distance success continued for PW in the second quarter. The Suburban One League American Conference champs made four field goals and three of them were from beyond the arc to help extend the lead to 17 and they led, 38-21, going into the half.
O’Brien did the heavy lifting in the third quarter. She scored 12 of the team’s 15 points in the frame and the lead grew to 21, 53-32, heading to the fourth.
In the final frame, the Colonials went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line to maintain a comfortable lead and close out the win, 62-41.
O’Brien finished with a game-high 26 points and Fortescue had 21.
(3-5) JP McCaskey senior Ahnera Parker led the Red Tornado in scoring with 20 points. Jaileen Short had 11.
The Colonials face (1-7) Council Rock North – a 45-38 winner over (11-2) Nazareth – Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Plymouth Whitemarsh 62, JP McCaskey 41
JP McCaskey 12 9 11 9 — 41
Plymouth Whitemarsh 22 16 15 9 — 62
JP McCaskey: Short 4 0-0 11, Gibson 1 0-0 2, Perry 1 0-1 2, Richardson 1 0-2 2, Parker 7 6-9 20, Todd 1 2-2 4. Totals 15 8-14 41.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: O’Brien 5 13-17 26, Fortescue 8 1-3 21, Diamond 1 5-6 8, Suchsland 2 1-2 7. Totals 16 20-28 62.
Three-point goals: JP: Short 3. PW: O’Brien 3, Fortescue 4, Diamond, Suchsland 2.
Top Photo: Plymouth Whitemarsh guard Taylor O’Brien puts up a shot against JP McCaskey during their PIAA Class 6A first round game on Friday, March 10, 2017 at Cheltenham High School. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)