Souderton cruises to win over Overbrook in season opener

FRANCONIA >> Early in the second quarter, Souderton guard Sami Falencki poked the ball away from an Overbrook guard.

With nothing but court in front of her, Falencki took off and finished the play off with a lay-up. Not only was it a nice defensive play, but it was a new wrinkle to the reserve guard’s game.

That’s sort of the case with much of Souderton’s roster this season and the Indians are hoping the work they put in to improving and diversifying their playing styles pays off throughout the season. Friday night, they got off to a good start with a dominant 71-21 win over Overbrook in a semifinal of the Souderton Rotary Tip-Off Classic.

“It’s a really nice way to start the season, we got a really good team effort,” Souderton coach Lynn Carroll said. “I was happiest about how unselfish we played on offense. We had 16 assists (on 26 field goals) which says a lot about our willingness to pass the ball to the next person to get a better look.”

Post Alana Cardona, another one of those players who worked on her game, led Big Red with 15 points and six rebounds while serving as a post presence for undersized Souderton. Usually, the Indians will go as their guards go, but with Cardona capable of playing in the paint, she adds another dimension to the offense.

While those guards were going strong to start Friday night, they also got their forward involved and Cardona had three of the team’s first five points. Accepting that her biggest impact would come as a forward, Cardona put in the work to embrace the position.

“She had a great offseason,” Carroll said. “Her preference in the past has been to be a guard and be more on the perimeter. She knew we needed her to play down low and we lack in size, for sure. She committed in the offseason to improving those post skills.”

Souderton opened the game on a 14-4 run with Cardona and the backcourt trio of Marissa Sandone, Tori Dowd and Krista Schneider accounting for all the scoring. Schneider played a solid all-around game with 11 points and four assists while Sandone hit a pair of 3-pointers en route to eight points and Dowd had three steals.

Falencki and Megan Walbrandt provided a big lift off the bench and Falencki helped transition from the first to second quarter with a strong burst, including her coast-to-coast layup. The duo combined for 15 rebounds, nine to going to Walbrandt and six to Falencki, often the smallest player on the court.

Carroll’s hope is to go at least seven deep with any of those top seven capable of starting on a given night.

“We talked about the fact that if you happen to not be starting a game, we’re still expecting you to play like a starter,” Carroll said. “Megan Walbrandt as a freshman, her ability to get to the basket and her basketball IQ, we’re really excited about her.

“Sami gave us great minutes. Typically, in the past, Sami has been mostly a 3-point shooter but she is doing so much more for our team. She boxes out all the time and goes for offensive rebounds.”

Souderton blew the game open in the second, outscoring Overbrook 26-7 and turning an 18-7 lead after one into a 44-14 halftime edge. The scoring was again balanced, with six different players chipping in during the quarter.

Along with Cardona, Mia Sherer was solid up front, collecting 10 points and four rebounds. The senior was a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line and as a whole, Souderton shot well from the line, hitting 16-of-18 attempts.

The starters put the game away in the first half of the third quarter and the reserves finished off a 17-0 quarter for Big Red. Erica Stephens was the high scorer off the bench with eight points and four boards.

Souderton will play for the tournament title Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. against Germantown Academy, a 38-22 winner over Allentown Central Catholic Friday night. The Patriots, a top team in the Inter-Ac, will pose a much different test than Overbrook. It’s certainly a test for Souderton and the work it’s players put it, but it’s a good test to have on the second night of the season.

“They’re just a good, fundamentally sound team,” Carroll said. “They pressed Allentown Central Catholic a lot. It’s exciting to play against such a good program of the type Germantown Academy is.”

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