Late foul shots push Jenkintown past Lower Moreland in BAL quarters

LOWER MORELAND — Nena Lindenbaum-Grosbard has a specific role with the Jenkintown girls basketball team.

The guard doesn’t have to score much, but she is asked to defend, move the ball and pile up the assists. But when she is needed to score, she comes through.

Wednesday night, Lindebaum-Grosbard scored just two points, but they were the game’s winning margin. A pair of made free throws with five seconds lifted the Drakes over host Lower Moreland 44-42 in the quarterfinals of the BAL tournament.

It was a tough ending for the Lions, who clawed out of a big hole to take two leads inside the final 1:27 of the game.

“We came out fired up and hitting our shots,’ Jenkintown coach Jim Romano said. “We took a nice lead then all of a sudden we had some mental lapses. We are young but by this time of the season, they’ve put a full season in so I don’t know if we can use that as an excuse.’

The game’s deciding play came right after Jennifer Kremp had tied the game on a pair of foul shots with 52 seconds left. Jenkintown was able to get Lower Moreland guard Lauren Killion (17 points, four steals) to give up the ball and forced a tough corner shot that was off the mark.

Lindebaum-Grosbard grabbed the rebound and was fouled, leading to the decisive free throws.

“It’s tough to lose on a foul 84 feet from the basket,’ Lower Moreland coach Richard Becker said.

But Becker didn’t put it all on that call. His team fell behind 30-13 in the second quarter, a deficit that took until the final 90 seconds to overcome.

Jenkintown was carried on offense by senior Emma Dorshimer, who scored 26 despite being face-guarded through the entire game. Kremp scored 11 in support and Ashley Kremp chipped in with five points.

Dorshimer scored 19 in the first half, going 3-of-4 from downtown, scoring in the post and dishing three assists. Lower Moreland had to change its gameplan after Bridgette Alexander, who Becker called the team’s best defender, had to sit with an injury.

Alexander picked up the injury playing her primary sport, soccer and Becker said she is questionable for the district tournament, pending a doctor’s visit.

“She’s the player we planned to put on (Dorshimer) so when you lose your best defender against someone like that, it’s tough to overcome,’ Becker said. “I thought the girls started to make some adjustments because they made everything early. We outscored them at the end of the game, but they just had too much of a lead.’

After Dorshimer drilled a 3-pointer to give the Drakes 30, Becker called a timeout. It was a key moment, because the Lions roared out of it and began slicing the Jenkintown lead while cutting Dorshimer off from the easy looks she had been getting.

“All I told them was the same stuff I told them before the game, I guess they just needed to calm down,’ Becker said. “Every shot they made, that was entire practice, don’t let (Dorshimer and Kremp) get the ball and maybe having a different lineup out there, they had jitters to start.’

Jenkintown did struggle, turning the ball over three straight possessions late in the second quarter and coughing up the ball three more times in the first two minutes of the third quarter. When Dorshimer was able to slip free of the Lower Moreland defense, she capitalized, doing enough to keep the Drakes ahead by two possessions.

“We had to do what we had to do at the end,’ Romano said. “We had our chances at hitting some foul shots and we didn’t do it.’

Jenkintown missed its first three foul shots in the fourth quarter, all 1-and-1 chances. The Lions ripped off six straight from 2:36 to 1:27 to go up 39-38 on a score by Killion.

Dorshimer took the inbounds pass, drove the lentgh of the floor, stopped on a dime and sank a jumper with 1:17 to put her squad back in front. The senior also finished with 14 rebounds, two of them coming at key moments in the fourth quarter.

“Dorshimer’s the difference,’ Becker said. “We got the lead and the next possession she said I’m going to go down and score and she does. That got them back up.’

Lower Moreland regained the lead when Rachel Millan (seven points, five assists, four steals) dribbled around the top of the arc and drained a 3-pointer with 1:04 left to go up 42-40.

Jennifer Kremp was fouled driving on the next possession, and with the Drakes in the double-bonus, sank her two freebies to tie the game up and set up the climatic play.

“Jen hit two big ones for us, Nena got that rebound, played good defense, got fouled and hit two for us at the end,’ Romano said. “That’s playoff basketball right there.

“You wonder why we don’t do it five minutes before that, but Emma had to make that big shot for us and we did exactly what we needed to do to pull it out.’

Romano’s been at this for a while, so he knows what roles his players can best fit every year. He gave Lindenbaum-Grosbard a specific job and Wednesday, she filled it to perfection.

“We have a lot of shooters here so her job is to play defense, she’s one of our top defensive players,’ Romano said. “She should lead the team in assists and at the end, hit big foul shots for us. It happened to work out and makes me sound like a genius.’

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