FRANCONIA >> Megan Bealer and Megan Walbrandt were hitting threes, Alana Cardona was dominating the post, and Souderton Area was soon fast-breaking its way to a 20-0 lead over rival Pennridge.
“We knew that Pennridge was probably gonna come out pretty intense because of their (63-59 win over Central Bucks West) last night,” said Big Red 5-foot-11 senior forward Alana Cardona. “We wanted to match their intensity, which we did.
“And run the game through our intensity and be able to take control.”
Souderton surely looked and played like the top seed in District 1-6A, pulling away early to its 12th consecutive win, 65-20 over visiting rival Pennridge.
“Earlier in the week when we played them (in a win for Souderton), Kate (Connolly) and I still got a lot of really good post looks,” Cardona said. “So I think part of it was seeing where we could score and the looks were there.
“So it was just about taking advantage of it.”
Souderton, running smoothly under acting coach Ben Bowman (Lynn Carroll is taking time off after giving birth last week), raised its record to 18-2, including a first-place, 9-1 mark in the Suburban One League Continental Conference.
Big Red is closing in on a conference crown, with games at CB West Tuesday and at home against William Tennent Thursday.
“It’s good momentum going forward,” Cardona said of the 9-1 record in the Continental.
Cardona scored 10 first-quarter points in helping to get Big Red out to a 20-0 lead and a 24-2 advantage after one.
With her back to the basket, Cardona’s short, turnaround jumper was the one that put the lead into double digits at 11-0. Quick ball movement and an ability to find the open shot allowed good looks for Bealer and Walbrandt, who connected from three-point range to widen the margin.
Tori Dowd capped off a fast break to keep Souderton rolling.
Pennridge did find some rhythm in the second quarter, with Brooke Bachtle and Emilee Cramer each hitting a three and Rose McCormick adding a basket.
But Big Red, firmly in command, led 37-10 at the break. Cardona’s 12 points led all scorers and Connolly added eight.
“I think we’re playing really well,” Cardona said. “We struggled in the beginning (of the season) a little with our defense but now our defense is really picking it up and it’s really where we like it to be.
“We’re also pushing the ball and getting it down court a lot, so we’re playing really well. And we’re playing as a team, which is really good. We’re always looking for the open person.”
The bulk of Souderton’s early points came off assists. Cardona would finish with a game-high 14 points, Bealer had 13, Connolly scored 11 and Dowd had eight.
Pennridge (9-10, 3-7 conference) still has a good shot at the district playoffs, with two conference games and a non-league clash on tap for this week.
“I think it was a pretty emotional game (Friday night) and everybody used up a lot of energy. It’s just something they gotta try to work through,” Rams coach Mike Elton said. “They were flat. It’s been a long week for them — four games and they’ve all been top schools.
“We just have to go back to work.”
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