TOWAMENCIN >> Both Lower Moreland and Dock Mennonite Academy have very young girls basketball teams this season.
That youth was on display Thursday in their afternoon matchup at Dock, whether it was Lower Moreland practicing a play during warm-ups or Dock calling three timeouts in the first six minutes. Both teams are far from a finished product and both like the potential in the numerous freshmen and sophomores on their roster.
The difference was that Lower Moreland had senior Rachel Millan.
“Having her, it just calms everybody down,” Lions coach Richard Becker said. “They know, worst-case scenario, they can always go to her. She’s really stepped up her leadership this year and it’s nice to see her step into that role.”
Millan scored 19 points to fuel Lower Moreland to a 51-14 win with five other players scoring at least five points for the visitors. The senior isn’t the team’s only vet, with Jordan Cohen also a senior and Allison Asman a sophomore, but the rest of the Lions (4-1) roster is all freshmen.
Dock (0-4) is in a similar boat in terms of age. First-year coach Ryan Rush has just senior Gintare Tamulyte and junior Carsyn McCloskey as upperclassmen with the rest of the squad freshmen or sophomores and few of them having much varsity experience.
“We never quit,” Rush said. “We play every quarter, every minute hard so that’s why I’m very proud to coach this group. No matter the score, they always compete.”
Lower Moreland hasn’t had much practice time since the season started last Friday, playing five games in seven days. Even with the lack of experience, Becker likes his depth at the guard spots and feels there isn’t much drop-off if the starters come out for bench players.
Millan took over the game late in a 44-43 win over Hatboro-Horsham earlier this week, but has been leading with more than her play. An excellent outside shooter, the senior is also a good driver and passer and Becker said she’s taken to heart the responsibilities of getting her teammates settled in.
“She talks to them before the game, gets them settled down, all those little leadership things you like to see,” Becker said.
Lower Moreland jumped out to a 10-0 lead to open the game, its guards causing plenty of steals that led to some easy hoops in transition. That kept up throughout the game, even if it wasn’t the cleanest effort, the energy covered for it.
The Lions led 24-8 at the half, with Millan having scored 10 of those. In the third quarter, the guard nearly doubled her game output, scoring nine points in the frame including eight in a row from 7:22 to the 5:39 mark.
On the other side, Dock is just trying to get its players comfortable on the varsity stage.
“It’s a lot of fundamentals,” Rush said. “We’re learning each other, learning our strengths and weaknesses, building chemistry and things of that nature. We have a young group so we’re working hard to build a team identity.”
Rush likes the potential in his group and his goal to keep building and improving with every game, which the Pioneers have done so far.
Becker said he and his staff have been trying to focus more on concepts that plays right now. They do have plenty of tape to use and learn from now, but what the Lions’ coach really wants is to just get his team in the gym and work.
“There’s a lot we still need to work on and I can’t wait to get in there and really practice,” Becker said. “But considering they haven’t had a lot of practice, I’m happy with what they’re doing.”
Lower Moreland 51, Dock Mennonite 14
LOWER MORELAND 19 5 22 5 – 51
DOCK MENNONITE 4 4 3 3 – 14
Lower Moreland (51): Rachel Millan 7 2-5 19, Allison Asman 3 0-0 6, Ceili Corduff 2 0-1 5, Jordan Cohen 2 1-2 5, Jimia Davis 3 1-2 7, Riley Malone 2 1-2 5, Nicole Castor 1 0-0 2, Kerri Kennedy 1 0-0 2, Alexandre Krutsinger 0 0-2 0, Reyna Amit 0 0-2 0. Totals: 21 5-17 51
Dock Mennonite (14): Ginate Tamulyte 2 0-0 5, Audrey Schweizerhof 1 1-1 3, Carsyn McCloskey 1 0-0 2, Alyse Sobetsky 0 2-2 2, Kate Strickland 0 2-2 2. Nonscoring: Cailey Ridge, Anna Gwladinski, Jessica Crissman, Jenny Chen, Kate Landis. Totals: 4 5-5 14
3-pointers: LM – Millan 3, Corduff; D – Tamulyte