Morgan Goldenbaum was the glue that got Neshaminy basketball to states

ROYERSFORD – In many beautiful ways, the Neshaminy girls basketball season could be viewed as the perfect storm. All the right forces blended together in what became a thrilling voyage all the way to the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal game.

The elements were as varied as they were talented. Two freshmen, Allison Harvey and Brooke Mullin, provided not only the youthful spark but some real offensive energy. A pair of seasoned juniors, Devon Storms and Emily Alexis, battled and hustled all over the court. A dedicated bench led by seniors Tiara Porterfield and Josafinne Mcilvaine, always stood at the ready. And the coach, Joe Lally, seemed to devise just the right game plan for each opponent.

The essential spark, however, that brought all the pieces together was provided by the graceful and mature court presence of senior captain Morgan Goldenbaum. Whether jumping center, bringing the ball upcourt or battling for rebounds underneath the basket, Morgan provided all the younger players with the perfect model of calm, selfless play so necessary for team success.

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Her importance to the winning effort was epitomized in the Lady Redskins’ dramatic trek through states. Morgan acknowledged that this was an historic trip for the girls basketball team.

“Apparently, Neshaminy has never made it to the elite eight in the history of the school. We’re not even sure who the last Neshaminy team was that made it to states. All of us had no real clue how it all worked. Once we did figured it out, we just took it one game at a time. We just focused on our next opponent.”

One thing Morgan knew from the start was her leadership responsibilities. When some of the younger players admitted being nervous, Morgan took charge.

“I thought I’m nervous too but for some reason, when I’m out on the court, there is so much going through my head. I remember as a freshman trying to remember plays and it’s a lot. It gets better as you get older. The whole game, I’m thinking exactly what’s going on on offense and defense. I knew I needed to help them keep their head straight.”

If the tension got too great, Morgan became a calming force. “Sometimes, I just try to joke and lighten the mood. You’re supposed to have fun and I hate to see the other players get upset. I’ll get mad at times but I try to laugh it off.”

Morgan’s positive influence became most evident in Neshaminy’s carefully orchestrated second-round game plan against Upper Dublin.

“We saw that their defense was a 1-3-1. We planned on having two people bring the ball up instead of just me. We practiced being very patient with the ball and just running our offense as well as possible. We worked on passing and cutting and just wearing out the defense as much as possible.”

The methodic scheme worked to perfection as Neshaminy took a 24-12 lead into halftime and never let up in seizing the 53-35 victory. Morgan led her team, scoring 13 points, dishing out six assists and snagging seven rebounds.

The big win set up a rematch against North Penn, a team that had conquered Neshaminy twice before.

“We didn’t expect to beat Upper Dublin because they’re known to have good sports teams. We were surprised to do that well. After the game, we thought ‘wow we’re playing North Penn.’ The second time we played them (in the districts) was horrible because we lost by 30. We did want revenge but not in a mean way. We wanted to show them we were so much better than the team they played in that second game.”

Neshaminy did just that as they led the Knights for all but three minutes in their quarterfinal matchup. Morgan provided the inspirational spark, nailing a three-pointer to give the Redskins a quick 3-0 advantage. She would end the night with a team high13 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Unfortunately for the Neshaminy faithful, the one lead the Reskins did not have came at the final buzzer. The 42-41 defeat ended their glorious run.

It also ended Morgan’s stellar high school basketball career. “Going undefeated in the league and making it this far in states was crazy. It’s taking me a couple days to think about it and how much it really means. While it’s happening, you don’t realize how much you are going to miss it and how much you loved it. Sometimes, you’d think I’m tired and don’t want to go to practice but when it ends, you think I’d do anything to have one more practice or one more game.”

One thing that hasn’t ended for Morgan is how much basketball means to her. “It has done so much for me. It brings out the best in me. It helped me mature – just getting to know so many people I don’t know, learning plays and trying to be a leader on the court. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. When I’m at basketball, I feel like such a better person. I’m such good friends with everyone on the team.”

With Morgan on the court, all her teammates undoubtedly felt like better players, a confidence that led to their historic season.


Neshaminy 53, Upper Dublin 35

(March 8 at Spring-Ford HS)

Neshaminy 11 14 9 19 – 53

Upper Dublin 7 5 13 10 – 35

NESHAMINY (23-7) — Morgan Goldenbaum 3 6-6 13, Allison Harvey 2 5-5 11, Devon Storms 2 5-11 9, Brooke Mullin 5 0-3 12, Emily Alexis 1 0-0 2, Tiara Porterfield 3 0-0 6; TOTALS — 16 16-25 53.

UPPER DUBLIN (22-8) — Allison Chernow 2 5-9 9, Josie Barrett 4 0-0 12, Maggie Weglos 2 2-2 8, Demi Balasa 1 0-0 2, Nicole Kaiser 1 2-2 4; TOTALS — 10 9-13 35.

3-POINT GOALS: N — Mullin 2, Harvey 2, Goldenbaum; UD — Barrett 4, Weglos 2.

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