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Plymouth Whitemarsh rolls over Bensalem in District 1-6A opener

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Lainey Allen drives to the basket against Bensalem during their District 1-6A first round game on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

WHITEMARSH >> Plymouth Whitemarsh handled Bensalem, 45-32, in the first round of the District 1 Class-6A playoffs Friday night at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School’s Gym West.

The No. 12 seeded Colonials got off to a fast start and road that advantage the rest of the way. They opened the game with a 12-0 run, keyed by Jordyn Thomas’ seven first-quarter points.

PW’s defense also played a big role in the early success. It held No. 21 Bensalem scoreless until the Owls hit a free throw with 4:33 left in the first. The first basket came in the final 15 seconds of the quarter. The Colonials also forced seven turnovers in the opening eight minutes to help build a 16-4 lead.

“The kids came out and we were able to jump on them,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said, “use our length to jump into some passing lanes, get some tipped balls and steals. I thought we did a good job of contesting their shots in the beginning of the game.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Kaitlyn Flanagan tries to shoot around the reach of Bensalem’s Emily Winburg during their District 1-6A first round game on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

Bensalem showed some life in the second quarter, opening the frame with a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to five, 16-11, with five minutes left before half. Then Haley Keenan exited after taking a hard fall on a layup and PW took back the momentum.

The Colonials closed the second quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 25-13 lead into halftime. They forced four more Bensalem turnovers during the final five minutes of the second after forcing zero during the Owls’ 7-0 spurt.

“Sometimes kids make shots,” Dougherty said of PW’s slow start to the second. “They hit at least one three there to start the second quarter. Our kids started getting a little nervous almost. The ball bounced off our hands, we weren’t able to secure some loose rebounds. A couple times offensively our turnovers turned into transition points for them.”

PW shutdown any ideas of a comeback in the third quarter. They won the frame, 12-4 behind six points from Lainey Allen, to take a 37-17 lead to the fourth.

Bensalem’s Haley Keenan dribbles away from the reach of Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Gabby Copper during their District 1-6A first round game on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

“When they pressed us it really fed into what we needed to do,” Dougherty said. “We needed to get the game going up and down to get the ball in Kaitlyn Flanagan’s hands and let her make decisions. She did a great job. When they had to start pressing us, I felt that turned the tides back our way in the second half.”

Allen led PW with 15 points, Flanagan added nine and Anna McTamney eight.

The Colonials advance to the second round, where they will face Suburban One League American Conference rival No. 5 Upper Dublin, Wednesday. Upper Dublin won both meetings in the regular season.

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