FRANCONIA >> Megan Walbrandt scored a game-high 14 points and was the defensive backbone in Souderton Area’s 38-17 victory over Central Bucks West Thursday night, shadowing the dangerous Maddie Burke all evening long.
“Any time you play this team, you’re very concerned about Maddie Burke, and Megan just did an outstanding job,” Big Red coach Lynn Carroll said. “She made it difficult for her to touch the ball and when she did get it, she made it tough for her to get off shots.
“(Burke) shoots threes like they’re layups,” Carroll said, “and the way Megan defended her was outstanding.”
The win improved the surging Indians (9-2) to 3-1 in the Suburban One League Continental Conference and West (6-6) dropped to 4-2.
“Everything just kinda worked together. Everyone worked so hard on defense, which made mine and Tori (Dowd’s) job a lot easier,” Walbrandt said.
Souderton blew the game open in the third quarter.
Walbrandt drove down the lane to extend the lead to double digits and soon after Big Red’s ball movement created an open three for Kate Connolly, who sank it clean through to make it a 24-10 advantage.
The Indians were at their collective best on the defensive end, allowing a young West squad just a single field goal in a decisive third quarter.
“They’re just a real solid team,” Bucks coach Terry Rakowsky said of Souderton. “They have a lot of seniors, they know what to do and they know how to work their offense. It’s why they were preseason-ranked one of the top teams in the state.
“That experience goes a long, long way.”
A pair of free throws by Alana Cardona added to the lead for the Indians and then Megan Bealer later nailed a three from the wing, making it 29-10.
Said Carroll: “Megan was sick (Wednesday) and didn’t have her legs under her and struggled to shoot in the first half but luckily kept shooting, because that three was a big one.”
“I think after halftime, we wanted to put the game away,” Walbrandt said. “We came out with a ton of energy and that carried over into the second half.”
Early on, it was a drive to the hoop by West’s Diane Nicholson that provided the first points of the night, and then Souderton Area tied it moments later when Cardona layed it up.
Big Red would not trail again.
Connolly hit a three for Big Red and then blocked a shot at the other end, triggering a fast break that was capped off by a Walbrandt layin, making it 7-2.
Bealer scored for the Indians and then Big Red finished off the first quarter with a pair of free throws by Cardona, extending the margin to 11-2.
Souderton would strengthen its lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Cardona created space and hit a mid-range jumper to boost the lead to 10, and then a Dowd-to-Walbrandt fast break gave the Indians their biggest lead to that point at 15-3.
West drew closer by halftime, a three by Izzy Treon helping to make it a 17-8 margin at the break. But Souderton would allow just nine points the rest of the night.
“We talk about trying to execute and today we didn’t execute,” Rakowsky said. “We play a team that plays its defense and we get (forced to play) a little bit faster than what we’re accustomed to, and before you know it, we’re running and chucking shots up.
“(Souderton) probably averaged eight, nine passes a possession, and we maybe averaged one. You’ll see that against teams that really come out and try to play defense. They’ll try to turn you over and get you to go faster than what you’re able to do. And (Souderton) did a good job of that.”