Brodie toughs it out, helps CB South topple North Penn

TOWAMENCIN >> Ideally, Alexa Brodie wouldn’t have gone back in to Thursday night’s game.

But ideally and realistically are so often very different, as was the case in the fourth quarter as North Penn was in the midst of furiously trying to erase a big Central Bucks South lead. So, Brodie came back, gamely playing on a bad right ankle and helped her team gut it out.

The result was a 48-34 win over the Knights, and a gutsy sophomore showing her toughness to close out a win for her teammates.

“Honestly, it hurt really badly but half the tears that came out of my eyes were just devastation that I wouldn’t be in the game helping my team,” Brodie said, her right ankle wrapped in ice. “This was a huge game, so the fact I wouldn’t be as part of it as I wanted, it devastated me. I watched what I could, saw my team take over and saw leadership from people I haven’t seen it from and that’s a confidence boost for our team.”

The Titans seemed to have more energy from the start and took a 13-7 lead after a quarter thanks to a five-point spurt by Haley Meinel in the last 1:06 of the frame. Brodie, who finished with eight points, had the rare points before the opening tip, hitting two technical free throws, then didn’t score again until her injury.

With about five minutes left in the second quarter, the guard drove into the lane, pulled up and hit a jumper but came down awkwardly, rolling her right ankle and leaving her on the floor in serious pain. She was helped off the court with 4:53 left in the half, and it seemed like her night was over.

South, at that point up 18-7, didn’t fall apart and instead built on its lead.

North Penn’s Irisa Ye tries lay up a shot past Central Bucks South’s Haley Meinel during their game on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

“It’s not what you would have thought would happen when we have to take our point guard off the floor,” South coach Beth Mattern said. “It just showed that our kids wanted it and they wanted to play hard for Alexa. She’s a gamer and she’s into it.”

On the bench, Brodie convinced the team’s trainer to leave her ankle taped and eventually talked her way into going to the hallway next to the gym and trying to show she could go back in. As she was running sprints, stopping and cutting outside, her teammates were extending the advantage.

What seemed like the prime chance for North Penn to wrest the game back never came to be. The Knights didn’t shoot well, but they also were not sharp with their decision-making.

“The difference in the game was decision-making,” North Penn coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “Theirs was very good, they would penetrate and hit a wide-open person and we would penetrate then not hit the wide-open person, or go one-on-three. It was unfortunate that Brodie got, but we should have taken advantage of it and we did not.”

The contest continued South’s recent run of success in the Knights’ gym, with the Titans winning three of their last four trips to North Penn.

For as well as the Titans played in the first half, leading 24-13 at the break, they took it up another level in the third quarter and held North Penn to just three points. With Brodie out, her teammates stepped up, with Lexi Edwards and Meghan Kuypers combining for all 13 of the Titans’ third-quarter scoring.

Edwards, who canned a pair of 3-pointers in the third and Kuypers each scored 11 points while Meinel finished with a game-high 15 for South.

What had been an 11-point lead at the half had ballooned to 21 by the end of the third, with South taking a 37-16 lead into the final frame. North Penn was scoreless for the first 7:33 of the period, finally getting something when Sam Carangi hit a 3 with 27 seconds left.

“Our effort tonight was not what I had expected,” deMarteleire said. “For us to score 13 points in 26 minutes is just embarrassing. We all, including the coaching staff, have to take a look at ourselves. It’s a long season and we have time to fix things and we’re going to have to take a serious look at fixing those things.”

Between sitting on the bench trying to lessen the pain thumping through her ankle, or out trying to prove she was good to go, Brodie didn’t see much of the game as it was going on without her. But she heard it

“Every time I heard our crowd erupt, I don’t know who shot it, it was Meghan or Lexi, Haley, anybody on the court was helping the team,” Brodie said. “It was just great to see those people step up. It was a huge team effort.”

North Penn’s Sam Carangi tries to push past Central Bucks South’s Maddie McShane during their game on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Meinel scored on a feed from Edwards with 6:58 left in the game to make it 39-16 and it looked like Brodie was going to stay on the bench the rest of the night. Mattern didn’t want to put the sophomore back in and the trainer said if the lead stayed around 20, he didn’t want her going in, either.

Then, North Penn finally found an open player, Bri Hewlett hit a 3-pointer and the Knights were suddenly on fire.

“When I saw that lead dropping, there was no way I wasn’t going back in there,” Brodie said. “I had to help my team pull this one out. They got that 20-point lead and I was going to help finish it.”

Hewlett scored again, Carley Adams hit foul shots and Hewlett drained another 3 to make it 39-26 before Irisa Ye was fouled for a 1-and-1 with 4:18 left in the game. Right before the foul shot, Brodie returned.

“I didn’t want to put her back in, but I trust her and I trust our trainer,” Mattern said. “He said she could do it and she said she wanted to help finish this game off. I decided to give her the opportunity but told her if she had a limp, she was coming back out. She sure did not show me a limp.”

The limp waited until after the game because Brodie and her teammates had a run to stop. Despite being a sophomore, the Titans look to Brodie for leadership and she knew that she had to go in and try to settle her teammates down.

North Penn got the lead whittled down to 39-31 on a trey by Jess Huber with 2:50 left before Mattern called a timeout with 2:35 to play. Mattern said it was just a chance to remind her girls how much work they’d done so far and that they knew what to do, they just needed to dig in and do it.

Out of the timeout, the Titans ran a nice play that got Meinel slicing to the rim, where she was fouled and split the pair. Huber missed a 3 on the next possession, with South forcing a tie up and getting the ball back off the possession arrow.

North Penn’s Bri Hewlett goes for a shot past Central Bucks South’s Haley Meinel during their game on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Brodie took it from there, driving all the way this time and dropping in a lay-up with 2:01 left to extend the lead back to double-digits, 42-31.

“They had the momentum, they were scoring and we weren’t,” Brodie said. “When I got that lay-up, it was a huge change of pace for us and a relief for me, knowing I got in there and did something good for my team to come out with the win.”

North Penn had two shots on its next trip down and couldn’t make either, allowing Brodie to go to the stripe and hit a pair. Carangi hit a 3 with 51.6 left, cutting it back to 10 at 44-34, but Meinel closed it out with four makes from the foul line in the last 35 seconds.

The Knights shot 10-of-45 from the field, reflecting what Mattern dubbed a “fantastic” effort from her team on defense.

South improved to 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the SOL Continental while North Penn fell to 6-2, 2-2 in the Continental. North Penn hosts Upper Dublin on Saturday while the Titans face Perkiomen Valley on Sunday at USciences.

Brodie will have a lot of ice and a lot of rest coming her way, and Sunday’s game might be a stretch, but she proved plenty with her performance on Thursday night.

“She’s a tough kid,” Mattern said. “She walked it off a little bit and was feeling a little better.”

Central Bucks South 48, North Penn 34
Central Bucks South 13 11 13 11 – 48
North Penn 7 6 3 14 – 34
Central Bucks South (48): Melissa Veal 1 0-0 2, Meghan Kuypers 4 0-1 11, Haley Meinel 4 6-7 15, Alexa Brodie 2 4-4 8, Lexi Edwards 4 0-0 11, Lindsay Scott 0 1-2 1. Nonscoring: McShane, DiSandro. Totals: 15 10-12 48
North Penn (34): Irisa Ye 2 0-1 4, Jess Huber 3 0-0 8, Sam Carangi 2 2-2 8, Jess McKenzie 1 0-0 2, Bri Hewlett 3 2-2 10, Carley Adams 0 2-2 2. Nonscoring: Mia Melchior, Jenny Hulmes. Totals: 10 4-5 34
3-pointers: CBS – Kuypers 3, Edwards 3, Meinel; NP – Hewlett 2, Huber 2, Carangi 2

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