QUAKERTOWN >> An unexpected, pre-game fire alarm pushed back the tipoff time for Souderton and Central Bucks South on Thursday night, forcing everyone to exit Quakertown High for a bit.
Asked how she and her teammates spent the time, Indians junior shooting guard Sami Falencki said: “We were just huddled together because we were so cold. We were like ‘everyone, come together, we’re freezing.’”
Big Red also felt something else.
“We were calm, calm as can be,” said Falencki. “The pressure is off. Coming in as like a last seed (11th), we have no pressure. All of the pressure is on the higher-seeded teams. And we know we have a shot to take them down one way or another.”
Falencki and Big Red certainly did that on Thursday, spreading the ball around, never letting the Titans feel comfortable on offense, and combining the efforts of many for a 40-27 victory over South in the second round of the PIAA-6A Tournament.
Falencki, a reserve guard, never knows exactly how much playing time she will get each game. She made the most of every second against the Titans, hitting a pair of crowd-pleasing threes and scoring eight points in all to help Souderton’s momentum build, and eventually overflow.
“As a bench player I’m doing what I can when I get on the court,” Falencki said, “contributing anything I can — scoring, rebounding or assisting.
“My mindset was to just help my team get the job done. It’s so great being this far in states — the first time in history being here, it’s just fantastic, a great experience.”
Souderton gained an edge in the first quarter then pulled away to a 10-point lead by the break. Alexa Brodie’s 18 points were a game-high for the Titans (20-8), the fourth seed out of District One, but South struggled to maintain any consistency. Foul trouble made the climb even more steep, with Big Red hitting 8-of-14 shots from the line to put the game away.
“It was a struggle today and that’s a credit to Souderton,” Titans coach Beth Mattern said. “Souderton came out, they executed. We struggled against them the first time we played them too (in splitting the regular-season series) so it was their night.”
Kate Connolly was also instrumental for Big Red, who now advance to Saturday’s state quarters to face Plymouth Whitemarsh. Connolly scored a team-high 12 points, including a drive and three-point play that extended the margin to 35-19 early in the fourth.
“CB South’s a really good team and it was just really exciting the whole way, a lot of fun,” Connolly said. “We were finding the open shot. (South’s) a really aggressive team so we just wanted to keep the ball moving.”
On three separate occasions, Falencki hit big ones — including a finish at the hoop — for the Indians.
“She spends a lot of time working on her shot and I was really happy for her that she was able to step up and hit those for us,” said Souderton coach Lynn Carroll, who has guided Big Red to its first state quarters appearance. “(South) made it as difficult as possible on Kate and really made her earn every basket tonight.
“She wants to step up, she’s gonna try to step up, and tonight she did step up.”
Alana Cardona sank four consecutive free throws to close things out, sending everything dressed in red into a frenzy.
Said Falencki: “It’s great. I love it. That’s the biggest student section we’ve had all season.”
Top Photo: Souderton celebrates its 40-27 win over Central Bucks South in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)