Barrett shoots resilient Upper Dublin past Cheltenham

UPPER DUBLIN >> As the ball swished through the net, Josie Barrett stood with her arms extended out to each side.

It wasn’t a gesture of celebration, but as her face showed, one of disbelief. Disbelief at the shrill of the official’s whistle, disbelief at her 3-pointer being waved off and disbelief her coach had taken a timeout before her go-ahead shot had left her hands.

It was a look of disbelief and it took 14 seconds and some change to rectify it.

“I was kind of mad at (coach Morgan Funsten) at first because I had made the shot,” Barrett said. “But, I trust my coach, so I knew we’d draw up something nice.”

Barrett hit again from deep, this time with 1.3 seconds left on the clock, to lift Upper Dublin past visiting Cheltenham 42-39 Tuesday night in a thriller that left both teams thinking about what could have been. The Cardinals withstood a nightmarish third quarter before some late heroics by Barrett and senior Allison Chernow carried the day.

Cheltenham (3-1, 1-1 Suburban One League American) believed it let one get away and Panthers coach Brendan Nolan felt there was no where to place blame except on themselves.

“A lot of self-inflicted wounds down the stretch,” Nolan said. “Turnovers at terrible times, terrible shots at terrible times, not knowing what we’re trying to do at crucial points of the game kind of things. We’re going to have to learn from it.”

Barrett ended with a game-high 18, including 5-of-6 from downtown while Chernow had nine assists and seven points and Ashley Barber had 10 big rebounds.

Ashley Jones paced the Panthers with 16 points, six assists and five steals while Gabbi Wright had 12 points and five boards. The Cardinals (3-2, 2-0) had plenty of respect for Jones, with Funsten calling her scoring ability “absolutely ridiculous” and Chernow adding that the Cheltenham junior is “a special one” with a big future. UD’s goal was to keep Jones to 15 or fewer points, but Funsten could live with the 16 she put in.

Upper Dublin sped out to a 7-0 lead before Jones dragged her team back into it. After closing out the first at 12-12, Upper Dublin took a 22-15 lead thanks to Barrett, who drilled a 3 on a fantastic cross-court pass by Chernow, then pump faked her way to a score inside.

Gabbi Wright helped keep Cheltenham afloat in the second, and Jones scored the last four to cut the lead to 26-24 going into the half. Both Chernow and Maggie Weglos, who was the main defender on Jones early, went into the break with three fouls.

Things were only just getting interesting.

Weglos and Chernow each picked up their fourth fouls early in the quarter while the Cards could not hit a thing on offense. Upper Dublin started the quarter 0-of-10 from the field while Cheltenham, again spurred by Wright and Jones, opened up a 22-26 lead with 1:24 left.

“It was tough for us to stay composed on the defensive end,” Chernow said. “We were down seven and for us to come out strong, finish out that third quarter and get it in the fourth, that was huge.”

“It came down to our teamwork and staying patient on offense,” Barrett said.

It was an early season moment of adversity, but Upper Dublin had already faced a few of those and got through, so Funsten felt like this was something his girls could get past.

“If we don’t lose twice in the opening weekend, we probably don’t win tonight,” Funsten said. “We’ve faced adversity already and we understand that you have to stick together. It was so easy to quit in that third quarter when you’re 0-for-10, nothing’s going and you’re in foul trouble. There’s so many excuses to be made and the girls didn’t make them.”

Upper Dublin’s spark came from an unlikely source when Nicole Kaiser was fouled on a put-back attempt and knocked down two huge free throws with 1:08 left. The Cards got a stop and Chernow, playing through four fouls, found Barrett and the junior knocked down a massive trey to make it 33-31 Panthers going to the last quarter.

Jones opened the fourth by grabbing a long offensive board and scoring on a drive, then Weglos answered with her first bucket, a corner 3, to make it a one-point game. Upper Dublin eventually went up 39-37 when Chernow drove and passed to Demi Basala for a point-blank bucket with 2:52 left.

With 1:03 left in the game, Chernow took a gamble on a loose ball, flinging herself across the court to take it away from a Cheltenham player and signal a timeout. The officials granted it to her, despite howls of protest from the Panther bench imploring for a foul.

“One of our goals is two hustle plays in each half,” Chernow said. “That’s obviously not going through my mind at that time. I saw the ball, I saw the score and I wanted the ball. So I went and got it.”

The steal didn’t lead to anything but it did deny Cheltenham a possession, which loomed big when Jones went to the line and despite missing both, Wright got fouled on the rebound and sank both to tie it up at 39-39 with 46.9 to go.

“We have to learn how to score better than we do,” Nolan said. “We rely on Ashley to score and we can’t even at times, other than breaking the press, we show an inability to even have the ball out of her hands.”

With 15 seconds left, Barrett had her shot waved off and Funsten went to work drawing something up.

“That was my fault on the first one, I should have know she was about to make that shot,” Funsten said. “If there is a kid to make back-to-back 3s and have them be back-to-back 3 game-winners, it would be Josie. She’s a lights-out shooter.”

Funsten said that usually, the team goes as Chernow goes, but recently, it seems to be going as Barrett does. When the junior is on, like she was Tuesday, good things have been happening for the Cardinals. When she hasn’t, it’s become a struggle to score.

Still, Chernow is the one with the ball in her hands and the initial play out of the timeout wasn’t designed for Barrett. It just turned out that way thanks to a senior play.

“They came out in zone and we weren’t expecting that,” Chernow said. “I passed it in, we kicked it back out, I drove, they collapsed on me and I found Josie in the corner and she did what she does best.”

“I was waiting for the ball,” Barrett said. “I was ready for it. Allison had a great pass, she hit me nicely.”

There was no whistle this time as Barrett splashed in the left corner shot with 1.3 seconds left, the clock ran out and Upper Dublin found a way to win one.

“That’s Allison understanding if a team is zone and she penetrates, they’re going to drop,” Funsten said. “If three girls collapse in, she knows there’s a shooter open and there’s no better shooter than Josie.”

“This boosts our confidence so much,” Chernow said. “Beating them like that, if some of the shots we normally make go in, we beat them by more, but that’s not how this game goes and we found a way to win tonight.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply