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O’Brien alone atop Plymouth Whitemarsh’s girls scoring chart

Plymouth-Whitemarsh's Taylor O'Brien runs down the clock at the end of the first half at Upper Dublin during their game on Jan. 24, 2017.(Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Plymouth Whitemarsh senior guard Taylor O’Brien entered the season fourth on the all-time girls scoring list at the school.

It felt more like a matter of when than if the dynamic point guard would ascend to the very top of the chart. O’Brien only needed a month to do it, turning in a brilliant 36-point effort on Saturday afternoon in PW’s double-overtime win against Upper Dublin.

O’Brien went from third to first, passing PW standouts Natalie DiRenzo and previous record-holder Nikki Flocco in Saturday’s game and now sits at 1,623 points.

Saturday’s win was a milestone for O’Brien, but also for the Colonials. PW rallied from a five-point deficit with 22 seconds left to force overtime, on an O’Brien buzzer-beater from well beyond the arc, and picked up their third straight win over Upper Dublin dating back to last season.

PW’s only loss this season came at the hands of Central Bucks South, but the 11-0 Titans are just beating everybody this season and own wins over Upper Dublin, Souderton, Council Rock North and Central Bucks West. The 9-1 Colonials face Hatboro-Horsham and Cheltenham in SOL American play this week, then host Abington on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s District 1-6A title game, won by the Galloping Ghosts.

O’Brien, who is also one of the top high jumpers in the state, has committed to play basketball at Bucknell next year. The senior has put a tremendous amount of work into her game the last four seasons, growing from just a great athlete playing basketball to a great basketball player who happens to be a great athlete.

As an underclassmen, the lefty relied on her speed and hops to get most of her scoring. With time, she honed her off hand so defenders couldn’t force her right and began to expand her outside shooting to the point she’s a threat anywhere on the floor. Case in point came Saturday, when she hit six 3-pointers.

O’Brien was a first team all-state pick last season but prefers to deflect credit to team accomplishments and would just as rather pass the ball than take a shot if a teammate has a better look than she does.

ROAD TRIP WONDER

Archbishop Wood’s annual trip to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona is meant to prepare the Vikings for Catholic League and state playoff games but it usually adds another benefit.

The Vikings spend an entire week together in Arizona and it only serves to bring them closer together, something senior captain Katie May has seen first-hand the last four years. While some teams may just be coming into their own at this point of the season, Wood has a leg up.

“When we go out to Arizona, we want to win but that’s not the whole purpose for going out there, want to see good players and how we rank up against them,” May said. “We’re humbled, but we also have confidence that if we’re close with those teams, we can be in any game. We already have chemistry on the court and off the court, which helps a lot.”

This year’s trip saw the Vikings go 1-3 against some teams stocked with Division I players, but Vikings coach Mike McDonald was happy with how his team played in all four games. Wood will put those lessons to the test quickly, with a home game against PCL power Neumann-Goretti on Tuesday and a trip to Cardinal O’Hara looming on January 17.

DORSHIMER NEARING 1,000

Gettysburg College junior Emma Dorshimer, a Jenkintown graduate, needs just 17 points to reach 1,000 for her college career.

Dorshimer, the Drakes’ all-time leading girls’ scorer, is in her third season starting for the Bullets, where she was named All-Centennial Conference as a freshman and a sophomore. The 5-foot-9 guard will have a chance to break the 1,000-point barrier this week with Gettysburg College scheduled for three games.

The Bullets host Haverford on Tuesday, travel to Muhlenberg on Thursday and finish the week near home as part of the Centennial Conference’s five-game slate at the Palestra. Gettysburg College and Ursinus start off the slate with an 11:30 tip-off.

Dorshimer has started all 11 games for the 10-1 Bullets this winter, averaging 13.3 points per game.

DAY OF HOOPS

Sunday is the annual Play-By-Play Classics Maggie Lucas Showcase at Jefferson University and once again, the field is stacked with local teams.

North Penn, Germantown Academy, Archbishop Wood, Upper Dublin, CB West, Abington Friends, Souderton, St. Basil, Gwynedd Mercy Academy and Mount St. Joseph are all in the field, which features games going on simultaneously on two courts.

MARQUEE WEEK

• Neumann-Goretti visits Archbishop Wood in an early, yet pivotal PCL showdown at 7 on Tuesday, the first of many big matchups on deck this week featuring area teams. The Vikings conclude their week at Jefferson against Sanford, one of the top teams from Delaware.

• Souderton hosts CB West on Thursday at 7 as both teams look to stay within a game of SOL Continental-leading CB South after each dropped their first meeting to the Titans this season. CB West faces Garnet Valley on Sunday while Souderton matches up with reigning 3A state champion Neumann-Goretti at Jefferson.

• Lansdale Catholic has a busy week, but visits West Catholic on Thursday. Senior guard Lauren Crim is closing in on her 1,000th point and the matchup with the Burrs could be her first chance to hit it. The Crusaders also host Pope John Paul II in a Saturday matinee at 1 p.m.

• Gwynedd Mercy Academy hosts St. Basil on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. The visiting Panthers are the defending AACA champions while the Monarchs are still trying to find their footing as the season nears its midway point.

• The Patriots of Germantown Academy will be road warriors during their four-game week, with a Thursday trip to Archbishop Carroll and a Sunday meeting with Bonner-Prendie at Jefferson the highlights.

• PW will be looking for a little payback on Saturday in its district title rematch with Abington in a 5:30 p.m. tip.

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