NETHER PROVIDENCE >> At times Penncrest juniors Megan Arndt and Kylie Chelo can be difficult to decipher on the basketball court.
They are both athletic, rangy guard/small forward hybrids. Arndt wears No. 11 and Chelo sports No. 12. In many ways, they do a lot of the same things.
When this topic was broached following Penncrest’s 55-29 victory over Strath Haven Tuesday, Arndt and Chelo looked at each other and laughed.
They have heard this before.
“Everyone says we’re twins,” Chelo said. Arndt chimed in with an “I don’t get it.”
It’s a compliment. Chelo and Arndt play the game in similar ways and they’re both a big reason why the Lions are in position to qualify for the District 1 Class 5A playoffs next month.
“I think it’s because we played on the same AAU team this past year,” said Arndt, who scored a game-high 17 points.
“And I also think it’s because we can always find each other on the floor,” said Chelo, who added eight points, three assists and a game-high four steals. “Since we’ve been playing with each for so long, we kind of get each other, I guess.”
Arndt and Chelo proved difficult to guard Tuesday, especially in the third quarter. With the Lions clinging to a 21-14 lead at halftime, they spearheaded a 20-point third period. Arndt scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds, while Arndt tallied five points, three steals, two assists and one block.
They were on their identical games…
“During halftime, we knew that we had to turn it on,” said Arndt, who shot 7-for-10 from the field. “We had to get it going.
Chelo, who was 3-for-4 from the floor, added: “And I think we did that.”
The Lions (11-8, 7-6 Central League) have won three straight decisions. Their recent success comes on the heels of a difficult stretch that saw them lose seven of eight games. It’s been a season of peaks and valleys for Penncrest, which started the campaign 7-1 overall.
“I feel like everyone is stepping up and doing what they have to do,” Chelo said. “We started off really well and started losing, but I think we’ve been playing a lot better recently.”
Grace Harding, a senior center, added 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Senior guard Kat Mullaney did a little of everything, contributing four points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block. The Lions shot 49 percent (21-for-23).
Strath Haven got within a point late in the first quarter, but Penncrest closed the half on a 10-2 run. The Lions outscored the Panthers (2-14, 1-10) by 19 points in the second half.
When the game started to get out of hand, Haven senior guard Olivia Fender didn’t quit. She collected five rebounds in the final quarter and finished with a team-high eight points alongside Margot Hotham.
On a team that is rebuilding for the future, it’s the little things that encourage Haven coach Allison Weiss.
“What I told them is that sometimes it’s hard to see it because of the score, but yeah, we put the ball in the basket more than we have,” Weiss said. “We didn’t make as many mistakes as we have in the past. They’re getting more experience at the varsity level, we play a lot of girls who are young, a lot of freshmen and sophomores. Some of them didn’t get as much time as they did in the beginning of the season. Even though it’s late in the season, they’re still getting more varsity experience. They’re adjusting and they’re learning.”
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