Giuliani scores 1,000th point as North Penn rolls Penncrest

LANSDALE >> Mikaela Giuliani entered Saturday’s first round Districi I AAAA playoff game against Penncrest needing 14 points to reach 1,000 for her career.
The North Penn senior almost did it in eight minutes. But she was kind enough to wait for the dignitaries, mainly her AAU teammates and friends from other schools, to arrive before delivering the final act.
With 4:26 left in the second quarter, Giuliani scored on a sweeping motion to the basket, giving her 1,001 points for her career. The senior went on to post a 23-point day as the No. 1 seeded Maidens cruised past No. 32 Penncrest 63-18.
“I didn’t think that’s how it was going to go down, I was trying my best not to think about it,” Giuliani said. “We just played how we know we can play and it just came right away. They were finding me, I was open and they weren’t forcing it. It’s really exciting.”
Giuliani, who as a freshman watched Lauren Crisler hit the milestone then as a sophomore saw Vicky Tumasz do the same, knew she had a shot at the mark coming into the season. She got started in a hurry, scoring three of the first five North Penn buckets then dropped in her sixth make with 1.2 left in the opening frame for a 12-point outburst.
The hot start, which saw her go 6-of-9 in the first quarter, was a far departure from the team’s last game Monday against CB West. North Penn, playing its sixth game in 10 days, looked tired and Giuliani by her own admission missed “about 11 layups.”
With the team getting two days off from practice, Giuliani still made time to get in the gym with her dad and work on a few things, plus a session with the other posts working with assistant coach Jen Carangi once practice resumed.
Maidens coach Maggie deMarteleire felt Giuliani might have been pressing to get to the milestone Monday, but was pleased with the way her team came out against Penncrest. Early in the second quarter, with Penncrest doubling and denying Giuliani the ball, North Penn didn’t try to force it to her and instead ran offense, kept scoring and pulled the double teams away.
“We didn’t talk about it,” deMarteleire said. “At one point in the season she had a bit of a slump where she scored in single digits and that hardly ever happens with her. I just said to her ‘I want you to achieve this milestone for yourself and you’re this close.’ That’s the last we talked about it and that was before the New Year.”
In this modern age of basketball with AAU teams, it’s common for top players from different schools to be on the same clubs and thus become close friends. Saturday, players like GMA’s Erica DeCandido, CB South’s Jordan Vitelli and Archbishop Wood’s Bailey Greenberg made sure to be there, with DeCandido and Vitelli coming right from their own games, to see their friend hit a milestone.
“They’re my best friends,” Giuliani said. “They’re my closest friends outside of school and we all try out best to support each other. We have games the same night a lot of the time but even Jordan. she played earlier today and she still got here, Erica got her, we’re always there for each other.”
Defensively, North Penn was too much for a very young Penncrest team, forcing it into numerous turnovers and attacking the basket with ball movement and drives to the rim. Grace Harding led Penncrest with seven points with Megan Arndt and Kylie Chelo each contributing four.
Giuliani split a pair of foul shots with 7:42 left, leaving her one point short of 1,000. The senior had an assist a minute later but missed her next shot attempt before Jess Huber made the right pass to set up the milestone bucket.
“Jess and I play AAU together so it obviously starts there but it’s just transferred to our high school games,” Giuliani said. “She always knows when I’m open and when to find and what’s the right time to pass me the ball.”
Giuliani became the 13th player at North Penn and 10th female to reach the 1,000-point plateau and first since Tumasz in 2014.
“She works so hard, she does all the dirty work and she runs 94 feet,” deMarteleire said. “She runs the floor exceptionally well and we always talk to the guards about rewarding Mikaela for running up and down the court. If you get her with one person on her back, get her the ball and they do. It was a nice game for everyone.”
Giuliani said that in her four years at North Penn, she’s become more confident and assertive on the floor and credited that to players like Crisler and Tumasz taking her under their wing. Now as North Penn’s sole senior, it’s a role she’s trying to reciprocate to the younger kids at the end of the Maidens bench.
One of them, freshman Kayla Sharkey, scored her first career basket in the fourth quarter. The cycle just keeps going.
“I said to her you just have 998 to go,” deMarteleire said. “It was a good day, I was very pleased.”
North Penn 24 17 15 7 – 63
Penncrest 4 3 5 6 – 18
North Penn: Irisa Ye 5 1-2 11, Mikaela Giuliani 11 1-2 23, Jess Huber 4 2-3 10, Sam Carangi 1 2-2 5, Mia Melchior 2 0-0 5, Bri Hewlett 2 3-7 7, Kayla Sharkey 1 0-0 2. Nonscoring: McKenzie. Totals: 25 9-16 63
Penncredt: Cat Mulaney 0 1-2 1, Megan Arndt 2 0-2 4, Kylie Chelo 2 0-0 4, Grace Harding 2 3-4 7, Julia Eckels 1 0-0 2. Nonscoring: Russo, Hart, Boyle, Nolan, Doyle. Totals: 7 4-8 18
3-pointers: NP – Carangi 1, Melchior 1

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