TOWAMENCIN >> The North Penn girls basketball team certainly hasn’t lacked drama to start its season.
After starting 2-0, including a 15-point comeback in the season opener, the Knights welcomed Archbishop Carroll Tuesday night. The Knights aren’t a finished product yet, but they showed the foundation is there as they managed to outlast a furious Patriots comeback.
Balanced offense, clutch free throw shooting and defense hoisted North Penn to a 44-41 win.
“It’s a little too much drama, but I’m happy, for us to be 3-0 I think is a pretty big thing,” Knights coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “We graduated three seniors who had a lot of experience and my two returning starters were both injured. Bri (Hewlett) just came back last Wednesday and Jess (McKenzie) will be back next week.”
North Penn’s defense wasn’t up to deMarteleire’s standards in the first quarter, evidenced by the quick timeout she took after the Patriots’ first basket of the game. After going down 8-5, the Knights rallied back to take a 10-5 lead but again left a Carroll shooter open, and Molly Masciantonio made the Knights pay by burying a 3-pointer with 00.4 left on the clock for an 11-10 lead.
The Knights’ defense was much better in the second quarter, where it pitched a shutout in taking the frame 9-0. Certainly, a handful of misses right at the rim by Carroll played a part in the lack of offense, but North Penn got out and contested jump shooters.
“We had to switch more on screens and they were doing a lot of slip-cuts and back cuts on us,” North Penn senior Jenny Hulmes said.
Carroll, which won its opener against Southern Lehigh, never got any kind of momentum going in the first half, despite Masciantonio’s shot to end the first quarter. Patriots coach Renie Shields said her team needs to find its offense from its defense and in the first half, the defending just wasn’t doing its job.
After the break, Carroll was much more aggressive and it wasn’t a surprise that when it got deflections and turnovers, its offense started to follow.
“We didn’t get any energy from our defense,” Shields said. “We believe if you get the ball popping on offense, you’ll get good shots and we just didn’t get that. We needed to start the energy at the tip and not the end of the game and that’s what I said to our team.”
Carroll equaled its entire first half offense in the third quarter, but North Penn still won the frame 12-11 and took a 31-22 lead into the final eight minutes. In the final quarter, Carroll’s defense and rebounding spurred it to a comeback effort.
Masciantonio, the Patriots’ senior guard, poured in 16 of her game-high 21 after the half and had 11 in the final frame. She nearly shot Carroll back into the game herself, burying a pair of treys in the last 1:33 to twice get her team within three points.
“I thought we were more active in the second half but we have to do a better job rebounding,” deMarteleire said. “They’re a good team and I know they missed a lot of shots, but we also didn’t play our best. We didn’t really rebound the way we’re capable of, so we’re a little fortunate to win.”
Hulmes tied with Hewlett for the team lead with 10 points and both seniors also chipped in across the book, with Hulmes ripping down seven rebounds, Hewlett collecting nine misses and both dishing three assists. Right now, Hulmes said, the Knights are a team that plays well offensively in spurts and the next step is to make that more consistent.
Aiding North Penn’s effort in the fourth quarter was the Knights’ performance at the foul line. They shot 11-of-12 from the line in the final quarter, with Hewlett scoring the eventual winning point at the stripe with 20 seconds left.
“We’ve been working on the under pressure foul shots in practice,” Hulmes said. “To be able to make them in the games has been good for us.”
Carroll also got more aggressive attacking the basket in the second half. At one point, North Penn had a 7-1 edge in fouls, but the Patriots quickly evened it out by going to the basket and fighting on the glass.
“We did do some good things at the end, but we need a fourth-quarter game, not one quarter” Shields said. “When kids start making shots, they get more aggressive defensively but we teach our kids they need to draw energy from their defense because your defense is always going to be there.”
NORTH PENN 44, ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 41
ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 11 0 11 19 – 41
NORTH PENN 10 9 12 13 – 44
AC – Molly Masciantonio 7 3-5 21, Karli Dougherty 0 1-2 1, Harlem Jennings 6 2-2 14, Mary DiSimone 0 1-2 1, Wynter Bess 0 0-2 0. Nonscoring: Kate Roccio, Bridget Hislop. Totals: 14 9-15 41.
NP – Jenny Hulmes 3 2-2 10, Alaina Mullaly 1 1-1 3, Kate Early 2 0-0 5, Carley Adams 0 3-4 3, Bri Hewlett 3 4-4 10, Cayla Sharkey 2 0-0 4, Alli Lindsay 0 5-6 5, Morgan Farrell 1 2-2 4. Nonscoring: Alayna Faison. Totals: 12 17-19 44.
3-pointers: NP – Hulmes 2, Early; AC – Masciantonio 4.
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