EAST ROCKHILL >> With Pennridge creeping closer, Central Bucks East’s Skylar Krause drained a crucial three pointer, providing the Patriots a five-point edge and a welcomed surge of momentum.
Providing such shots in such hectic times is Krause’s forte.
Said coach Liz Potash: “Sky’s an experienced player. We always want the ball in her hands. So we have no problem with her taking that shot in that situation. Last year, we always kinda joked that she was the one willing to take those big shots at big times.
“She had the buzzer beater against CB South this year so we always want the ball in her hands in big situations. She’s doing a great job for us.”
Krause’s clutch three helped send the Patriots on their way to a 46-40 victory over Pennridge in a Suburban One League Continental Conference clash.
Krause, known for her tenacity, as the 5-foot-6 guard leads the Pats in offensive rebounds, scored nine of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“She hustles. She is all over the place,” Potash said. “She gives you everything she has.”
Krause’s three was followed by a parade to the free-throw line for the Pats, who sank 11 of 16 in the fourth to put the contest into the win column and even their conference record to 3-3 (5-7 overall).
“Everyone did their job tonight,” Krause said.
Of the big three, she said: “We were in a little bit of a slump. We couldn’t get a good shot off. But we ran our plays, set good screens and made good passes, and I hit the shot, and that helped us get moving a little bit.”
A drive to the hoop by Corinn Mart brought Pennridge within 38-35, but that’s as close as the Rams would get. The Patriots used solid defense and enough free throws to ice the game.
“I was really proud of the defensive effort,” Potash said. “When I watched (Pennridge) on film, they get curl cut after curl cut after curl cut. And that was our big thing — to stop it. And I can’t think of one curl cut that they got uncontested tonight.”
Gabby Wilga’s two free throws widened the margin to eight and put the game away for the Patriots. Wilga finished with 12 points and Caroline Pla added 10.
Pennridge had stayed close, behind Julia Kreider’s 14 points. The Rams dropped to 7-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference, but are right there in most of their contests.
“I think that’s what we need to use to motivate ourselves to play better,” Kreider said. “We need to know we’re not losing by a lot. We just need to finish and play hard for the full game.”
“I’m happy with the effort. I’m happy with how hard they’re working,” Rams coach Mike Elton said. “It just comes down to a point where they need to learn how to close these games out.”
Back-to-back baskets by Wilga and an open shot underneath by Krause pushed the Patriots to an early 6-0 lead.
Pennridge got on the board with 1:55 left in the first quarter when Sam Muredda drove and got one to fall through.
The Rams tightened it to 6-4 before Pla hit a three and Krause hit again, stretching the East lead to 11-4.
A basket by Kreider brought Pennridge within 11-6 after one.
Kreider hit one of two free throws and then followed up her miss with a rebound and putback, as the Rams began to get going early in the second quarter.
But just as Pennridge got closer, East heated up from the outside. A three by Mia Salvati and two by Pla helped give the Patriots a 22-17 advantage at the break.
East led by three heading into the fourth and then pushed the margin to five when Krause hit from the outside.
“It’s deflating,” Elton said. “You work hard to get back in, and then they come out and hit a three, and that’s deflating. When you keep getting hit with these daggers, it’s hard.”
CB East is back on the court Saturday, at home against Perkiomen Valley at 2:30 p.m. Pennridge hits the road Tuesday, taking on North Penn at 7 p.m.