BENSALEM – Pennsbury sophomore Cami Wiegand started playing basketball in the sixth grade. To see her handle the ball on the court now, you might think she was playing the game for much longer than that.
The 10th-grader scored 21 points in the Falcons’ 55-36 triumph over Suburban One National League (SONL) rival Truman Tuesday, Jan. 16 on the Tigers’ home court. On Thursday, Jan. 18 at Bensalem, she added 20 more to the stat sheet in a low-scoring 32-18 win over the Owls.
Wiegand’s coach says the player has put plenty of hard work into improving her game.
“Cami is the direct result of putting in time in the offseason and she is someone who loves the grind,” said Pennsbury head coach Frank Sciolla.
“She comes in and works with you on things that she doesn’t do well – which not a lot of people do – and she will work against her weaknesses.”
Facing Bensalem’s half-court trap and 2-3 zone defenses in the first half, the Falcons had a tough time scoring. A pair of free throws by Wiegand were Pennsbury’s only points in the first quarter.
With 3:30 left in the first half, the Owls went up 10-4 on Hayley Keenan’s layup and with 1:30 remaining, went up 12-6 on Michaela Sit’s one-handed jumper off the backboard.
Only a layup and a 3-pointer by Wiegand in the last 75 seconds of the second quarter brought the Falcons within a point – 12-11 – heading into the locker room.
“We weren’t making shots and credit to them, they were limiting us to one shot,” explained Sciolla. “They did a really good job on the backboard.”
Coming back from the break, Bensalem sophomore Emily Wineburg hit a 1-handed jumper, putting the Owls up, 14-11. The home team scored just four points the rest of the way, however.
“We held them to 30-some points – which was perfect – but we only scored 18, and that’s a problem,” said 29th-year Bensalem head coach Don Bogan.
“We have to work on our offense – we don’t have a pure shooter and we don’t have a pure point guard.
“But they’re young kids; they work hard and that’s all I can ask.”
Pennsbury’s offense started to click in the second half with senior Sydney Buell feeding Wiegand for a layup then finding Mary Miller streaking to the basket for an open layup. In between, Wiegand canned a pair of free throws, putting the Falcons ahead to stay with 5:50 still to play in the third quarter.
Wiegand added a short jumper in the last minute of the third period, putting Pennsbury up 19-14 heading into the final frame.
Early on in the fourth quarter, Miller fought for and won a rebound before drawing a foul. Injured on the play, she couldn’t shoot so junior Skyler Sulby made 1-of-2 free throws.
While the Falcons missed their next three shots, they secured the next three rebounds and Wiegand finally capped a 90-second possession with a 3-pointer, putting Pennsbury on top 23-14 with six minutes remaining in regulation.
From there, the Falcons canned eight of their last 12 shots from the foul line, sending the score to its final. Conversely, the Owls didn’t get to the foul line at all in the second half.
“They took a ton of jump shots but we are more towards the rim. That’s how we like to play,” said Sciolla. “The first half we weren’t doing it as much. One of our game goals is to make more free throws then the other team attempts.”
This is the second time this season Pennsbury has outpaced Bensalem. The Falcons toppled the Owls 48-34 the first time the sides squared off at PHS.
“Knowing we beat them last time we came out slow and didn’t have the energy we played with in the first half of the season,” explained Pennsbury senior Sydney Buell, who hit a layup in the second period and another in the final frame.
“We realized when it was 12-11 that we should win this game. So we came back in the second half and we pushed the ball more, people were smarter with their fouls and we created shots for each other.”
Buell is the only senior in a starting lineup that contains freshman point guard Bella Arcuri, sophomores Mary Miller and Cami Wiegand. Freshman Abbi Nassivera also stepped into a starting role, after a knee injury to junior Kate Mix sidelined the shooting guard for the rest of the season.
After the game, Buell gave credit to the youngsters
“Our underclassmen have done a great job of stepping up and trying to fill Kate’s shoes,” said Buell. “No one will ever take her place but they are definitely stepping up and helping out.”
Buell gave particular credit to Wiegand.
“As the games have progressed, she’s become stronger and more confident,” said Sydney.
“She goes to the rim a lot more and she shoots a lot more and she’s one of our better offensive players.
“It’s good that she’s picking up this confidence going into the second round of our league.
“She’s getting better and better every game,” added Sciolla. “And she’s made some big shots for us.”
Next, Pennsbury plays host to Abington on Tuesday, Jan. 23 and Bensalem will host William Tennent on at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Pennsbury 32, Bensalem 18
(Jan. 18 at Bensalem)
Pennsbury 2 9 8 13 – 32
Bensalem 5 7 2 4 – 18
PENNSBURY (8-8, 4-4) — Sydney Buell 6, Mary Miller 3, Abbi Nassivera 2, Skyler Sulby 1, Cami Wiegand 20; TOTALS — 8 2-6–18.
BENSALEM (3-9, 0-6) — Chloe Woolens 1, Sydney Bawyah 2, Hayley Keenan 4, Alayna McSeed 2, Michaela Sit 4, Emily Weinberg 5; TOTALS — 8 14-22–32.
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