Frustrated Penn Wood falls to Cheltenham

CHELTENHAM — Penn Wood entered its District One Class AAAA tournament opener with high hopes and lofty expectations. The Patriots exited in tears and with mountains of frustration.

The Patriots fell, 71-56, to Cheltenham Thursday to end their season. The Del Val League champs wrap up the year at 14-7, but with hurt feelings.

“I hate to say it, but every time we come out, we’re five against eight. It’s true,’ said Penn Wood coach Monique Boykins of the officiating. “We didn’t get here, this far, without pushback. I don’t know what else to say.’

Penn Wood lost every quarter of the game. The Patriots were down, 22-15, after the first period and 36-23 at halftime. Entering the fourth quarter, Cheltenham’s lead was 14. Penn Wood cut it to 10 with roughly four minutes to go, but shortly after that, leading scorer Dahnye Redd fouled out.

With her, went the Patriots chances.

“It hurt, we worked so hard,’ Redd said. “They took it away from us.’

“Tough loss,’ Joy Morton added. “We just worked so hard in and out of practice. I can’t be more proud of us.’

Redd had 20 points to front No. 20 seed Penn Wood. Gabby Hairston added 11, including three 3-pointers, and Simone Walker had 10. It wasn’t enough to stop at determined Cheltenham team.

The Panthers, the No. 13 seed in this tournament, were led by Ashley Jones’ 28 and Amarri Trueheart’s 21. The two small guards controlled the floor and the game. They hit their free throws (Jones was 7 of 9, Trueheart was 11 of 15). Penn Wood did not.

The Patriots were 8 of 15 from the line. They also turned the ball over 18 times. However, the visitors were charged with 34 fouls to the Panthers’ 17. Granted, a number of those fouls came toward the end, as Penn Wood continued to extend the game until the closing seconds.

Boykins also contended her team could have rebounded better, especially early on. Still, the frustration over the calls lingered.

“You wanna talk about free throws, you wanna claim us for the 18 turnovers, go ahead, that’s 36 points we could’ve turned in,’ Boykins said. “There’s nothing else that we could have done different. We played defense very well, we hustled. There’s nothing else.’

Regardless, with just two seniors on this squad, the Patriots expect to be back next season.

“We’re not done, they’ll see us again,’ Boykins said. “Penn Wood will be in districts next year, with no doubt.’

The work, Redd said, will begin immediately.

“We’re coming back next year,’ she said. “We’re going to states.’

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