Huber’s shot pushes North Penn past CB West

TOWAMENCIN >> Jess Huber hadn’t hit a shot all game when the ball arrived in her hands with 38 seconds left.

So naturally when that kickout pass found the junior, wide-open and alone on the left wing, she drilled it. Huber’s huge shot put North Penn up for good and the Maidens were able to hold off a tremendous effort by Central Bucks West for a 49-46 victory Tuesday night.

After a first half where CB West did everything well and the Maidens everything wrong, North Penn put together an excellent second half spurred by a big effort from senior Mikaela Giuliani. Fittingly, it was Giuliani who provided the pass out to Huber for the dramatic shot.

“I was going through a little rough patch in the first half, but Mikaela saw me,” Huber said. “She had a great pass and saw the openings, I’m just glad I made it.”

West’s defense was outstanding in the first half, hounding anyone who touched the ball for North Penn and getting into faces the second the ball bounced across halfcourt. Freshman Tori Abelson and senior Makenzie Mason led the charge for West, with Abelson providing a couple of highlight worth plays.

Bob Raines—Digital First Media North Penn's Mikaela Giuliani past Central Bucks West's Molly Rodebaugh Jan. 26, 2016.
North Penn’s Mikaela Giuliani works to get past Central Bucks West’s Molly Rodebaugh during their game on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Her first layup came off a good-looking Eurostep and late in the second quarter, she turned a pair of rebounds into coast-to-coast drives for a layup then a dish to Mason. North Penn was out of sorts offensively and slow to react on defense, and West’s energy netted it a 29-14 halftime lead.


Normally, a 15-point cushion at the half is a good thing, but pretty much everybody in the gym knew North Penn would be coming back.

“We’ve always played with a lot of energy this year,” West coach Terry Rakowsky said. “We didn’t have easy turnovers but we had some coming down the end there where our youth just showed. We just didn’t finish a play, if there was a screen, we didn’t roll when it would be open or step into the ball.”

North Penn came out of the second half gate on fire, ripping off a 13-0 run before Maddie Maio and Abelson stemmed the bleeding. It didn’t matter, because North Penn was starting to feel it and Giuliani had established herself inside with 10 points in the third quarter.

An inspired halftime talk had lit the fire under North Penn, and the Maidens were playing like in the second half.

“At halftime when we were walking in, Jen (Carangi), Renee (Womack) and I were talking and every single thing that each one of them (the players) does poorly, we were doing poorly,” North Penn coach Maggie DeMarteleire said. “Most games, one person might not be on their game but every person we put in during the first half was not doing what they were supposed to. I said it can’t get much worse than that so in the second half, let’s concentrate on doing the things we do well.”

North Penn stuck to an aggressive man defense all second half and Giuliani and Bri Hewlitt kept making plays to cut into the West lead. After the Maidens missed three foul shots in the second half, DeMarteleire said there was almost a sense of dread all the work for the comeback was going to be for nothing.

But with 1:30 left, Sam Carangi somehow shook off Rakowsky’s tough defense and put in a high degree of difficulty layup to make it 43-42 Bucks. Ye and Carangi then forced a turnover on an over-and-back call, then North Penn set up a play.

“(Huber) wanted it and she even said in the huddle, I called a play where we could get the ball in the post or get it out for 3 and she said when we dump it into the post, just kick it out and she was waiting, wide-open,” DeMarteleire said.

“We knew they would try to double (Giuliani) and we’d have people open,” Huber said. “We wanted to see if Sam, (Ye) or I could get any shots and luckily she found one of us and I made it.”

Huber let out a roar of celebration as the Maidens took the lead. Mason got a good look from 3 on the next possession but it didn’t go down, allowing Giuliani to grab the rebound.

Huber would seal the game up after a Mason trey made it 47-46 by throwing a long pass up to Ye, who ran it down and scored an open layup for the final margin.

“It was a good game,” Huber said. “We wanted to show them we weren’t going to let up in the second half and we just wanted to come out and make sure we pulled it out.”

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