Council Rock North girls basketball outlasts Neshaminy – again

Neshaminy sophomore Brooke Mullin, left drives to the basket guarded by Council Rock North senior Emily Mackin (35) in girls basketball battle between the schools Jan. 26 on the Lady Skins’ home court, Langhorne, Pa.         (J.S. Garber – For 21st-Century Media)

LANGHORNE – In a battle between Suburban One National League (SONL) girls basketball powers Council Rock North and Neshaminy that was destined to go down to the wire, neither the visiting Lady Indians nor the Lady Skins disappointed in the first half of a girl-boy doubleheader Thursday night in Langhorne.

While the Rock staked itself to a 13-2 lead in the first quarter, Neshaminy repaid the favor in the second with a 13-2 scoring run of its own that sent the sides to the locker room deadlocked at 25-all.

“It was like first chapter, second chapter in the first half,” stated CR North head coach Lou Palkovics. “We did it to them in the first quarter and they did it to us in the second quarter.

“All second half, it was back and forth. Defensively, I thought we played great but obviously they played great on defense too and held us.”

Ten points tallied by each side in the third period sent the sides to the final frame still tied, at 25-all. But a  4-0 run capped by a putback bucket by Neshaminy senior Emily Alexis (4 pts.) put the Skins on top 29-25 only two minutes into the fourth quarter.

CR North sophomore Dana Bandurick (8 pts.) answered for the Indians with 1-of-2 free throws and a driving layup that cut the Skins’ lead back to a single point.

No sooner did North senior point guard Becca Margolis – who led the Indians with 10 points – hit a 3-pointer for the visitors when Neshaminy sophomore Brooke Mullin (11 pts.) canned a trey of her own to keep the Skins on top 32-31 with four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the home fans, Neshaminy made just one of its last five shots from the floor as the Rock went on to topple the Skins for the second time this season. North won the first duel between these two schools 50-49 in overtime right after the new year.

While Margolis and Bandurick canned back to back buckets to put the Indians up 35-32 with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Neshaminy still had a few more chances when sophomore Allison Harvey (7 pts.) intercepted a long outlet pass from Margolis.

The Skins could neither convert on that miscue nor the rebound of a 1-and-1 foul shot missed by Margolis that went off the foot of Harvey and out of bounds.

Margolis poured three of her last four free throws into the basket to help seal a 38-34 win in favor of the Indians.

“I thought we got a couple good stops but I also thought we made a couple bad turnovers that forced us to get those stops,” said Palkovics.

“We still have to clean up that end but I’m really happy with our level of play right now.

“Starting with the Life Center (Academy) game, we have been playing really well.”

In a Scholastic Sports Play by Play matchup that took place mid-January at Philadelphia University, the Rock lost to LCA by the slimmest of margins on a half-court shot. Up 58-56 and shooting two at the foul line, the Indians made the first and missed the second. That’s when the Warriors grabbed the rebound in time to can a shot from behind the half-court line for a 3-pointer that tipped the scales in LCA’s favor.

“We weren’t expected to win so I said to the girls, ‘let’s just play loose.’ And we played great.”

That wasn’t the only time this season the Rock was undone by a last-ditch 3-point shot. In the Kobe Bryant Classic Jan. 21 at Lower Merion facing Suburban One Continental League rival North Penn, the score was tied at 40-all when Knights point guard Jess Huber hit a trey with 8.9 seconds to go to help North Penn to an eventual 45-40 win.

Losses aside, Coach Palkovics is hoping the tough competition in the tournaments pays off in the postseason.

“We’ve been getting around, playing some good teams,” said Palkovics. “Hopefully, it pays off in the district playoffs.”

North remains in first place in the SOL National Conference at 9-1. The Indians are 12-6 overall with their only league loss coming earlier this week at Abington.

In that one, senior forward Lizzie O’Leary led the Ghost with 17 points while sophomore center Kassonora Brown added 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

Bandurick led the Rock with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots while Margolis added 12 points and six boards.

CR North senior Megan Haggerty paced the Indians with 14 points in the battle with North Penn, including a trio of 3-pointers that helped erase an 8-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Two late buckets by Bandurick (13 pts.) also helped North climb back into the contest.

Council Rock North 38, Neshaminy 34

(Jan. 26 at Neshaminy)

CR North              13 2 10 13 – 38

Neshaminy         2 13 10 9 – 34

COUNCIL ROCK NORTH (12-6, 9-1 SOL) — Becca Margolis 3 3-5 10, Dana Bandurick 3 2-3 8, Emily Mackin 3 2-2 8, Mackenzie Tinner 4 0-0 8, Kaelin Mealey 1 0-1 2, Camryn Polinsky 1 0-2 2; TOTALS — 15 7-13 38.

NESHAMINY (12-5, 7-3 SOL) — Kristin Curley 3 1-2 7, Allison Harvey 2 1-2 7, Brooke Mullin 3 4-4 11, Emily Alexis 2 0-1 4, Olivia Scotti 2 0-0 5; TOTALS — 12 6-9 34.

3-POINT GOALS: CRN — Margolis; N — Harvey 2, Scotti, Mullin.

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