EAST ROCKHILL >> Julia Kreider shined in her Pennridge debut as the Rams girls basketball team rolled in its season opener Friday night.
Kreider, a junior Central Bucks West transfer, scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half as Pennridge pulled away in the second quarter and routed Faith Christian 71-23 in the first game of the Pennridge Memorial Classic.
“She’s a nice addition,” said Rams coach Mike Elton of Kreider. “She’s going to help us a lot.”
Pennridge jumped out to a 20-6 lead in the first quarter before Faith cut the margin in half by scoring the next seven points — Sydney Heller’s two free throws pulling the Lions to within 20-13 at 7:16 in the second quarter.
But the Rams shook off some early foul trouble and overwhelmed the Lions with their pace on both ends of the court to end the half on a 23-3 run, going into the break leading 43-16 after a Sam Muredda 3-pointer.
“I think our defense was good, our help defense and stepping in,” Kreider said. “We’ve got to work on the fouls but that will come.”
Emilee Cramer had 11 points while Ashley Gordon chipped in 10 points for the Rams (1-0), who eclipsed 70 points for the first time since beating Freire Charter 71-31 on Dec. 28, 2015.
“I just like the fact that we’re playing as a team better than we have in the past,” Elton said. “So we spent a lot of time on attitude and effort. And a lot of it was just watching them start to put it together. So they’re just more in sync I think.”
Pennridge faces the winner of Gwynedd Mercy-Truman in the tournament final at 3 p.m. Saturday while Faith Christian (0-1) takes on the loser in the consolation at 6 p.m.
Heller’s 10 points paced Faith Christian, who had a tough night on offense – scoring 12 points in the final three quarters after putting up 11 in the opening eight minutes.
“Little bit of spurt, we ran out of gas,” Lions coach Dave Forker said. “Pennridge played great, the shot the lights out. So I know we’re kind of the David in this Goliath tournament with 6A schools — I guess Gwynedd’s not that size — but we expected to do a little bit better than what we did to say the least but hats off to Pennridge for what they were able to do.”
Kreider got off to a quick start, scoring seven early points – the last five the start of a 12-0 run that gave the Rams a 17-4 lead after a Cramer jumper.
“I think my first game the energy and my teammates were supporting me the whole time,” Kreider said.
A Cramer 3-pointer put the Rams up 20-6 before Heller knocked down a triple and Stephanie Cicero drove for a basket to cut the Lions’ deficit to 20-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Heller’s two free throws 44 seconds in the second had Faith within seven. After a Gordon jumper, Joy Hissner’s foul shot made it 22-14 but from there the Rams collected the next 16 points to lead 38-14 after a pair of Corinn Mart free throws at 1:30.
“It was nice to know that our practice is paying off,” Kreider said.
The Rams extended their lead to 57-18 after the third and led by much as 49 (71-22) in the fourth.
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