A happy birthday for Wallace as Cheltenham downs Wissahickon

CHELTENHAM >> Caitlin Wallace scored 17 points on her 18th birthday and Cheltenham’s defense was stifling in the middle two quarters, as the Panthers went on to earn a 43-29 victory over rival Wissahickon in a Suburban One League American Conference game Saturday afternoon.

“We lost to them up at their house,” Wallace said of the first matchup between the two, which the Trojans took, 32-20. “What really made the difference this time was we were determined, played hard, and we really worked on defense. We talked to each other, had a good chemistry out there, and that’s really what determined the game for us.”

A dominant second quarter for the Panthers (11-8, 7-4 conference) was capped off by a hustling Danielle Brown, who stripped the ball at mid-court and took it all the way in for two, extending the Panthers’ lead to 21-12 at the break.

With Kai Williams battling inside for tough rebounds and Kelia Holmes adding a three, Cheltenham was on its way. And it was Wallace who got the whole thing started — she hit her second three-pointer of the game to put Cheltenham in front for the first time, 11-10, kick-starting the key second-quarter run.

“I’m really thankful,” Wallace said of coming up with some big shots Saturday.

“She knocked down two threes at the beginning of the game that were huge,” Trojans coach Rodney Cline said of the senior guard. “You gotta give her all the credit in the world.”

Wissahickon’s Julianne Griffin tries to force a shot between Cheltenham’s Mia Leonard and Nashira Brown during their game on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Wallace again hit a pivotal three to start the fourth, boosting the Panthers’ lead to 32-17. She also hit three of four foul shots down the stretch to help clinch the game for Cheltenham.

Wissahickon, struggling without sharp-shooting guard Brianna Tilghman (illness), scored just four points in the second quarter and four in the third in falling behind the Panthers.

“They made shots and we didn’t today,” Cline said. “It was just one of those days. (Cheltenham) did the things you need to do to win the game. They deserve it.

“We gotta go to work. We still have a chance to make the playoffs and it’s a must to win these last four. We just gotta go to work on Monday and do the best we can.”

Wissahickon (8-10, 4-7), led by Julianne Griffin’s 10 points, hosts Council Rock South Monday. The Panthers will be back on the court Tuesday night, at Plymouth Whitemarsh, hoping to increase their playoff chances as well.

“I’m hoping, I’m really hoping,” Wallace said. “For sure. It’s gonna take a lot of hard work though.”

Top Photo: Cheltenham’s Mia Leonard drives for the basket past Wissahickon’s Hilma Meiby during their game on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

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