Huber’s heroics lift North Penn over CB South in OT for 11th straight win

WARRINGTON >> A season ago, Jess Huber looked to be the hero when her three-point play put the North Penn girls basketball team up three with 2.9 seconds left in its District 1-4A quarterfinal with Central Bucks South.

But Jordan Vitelli’s heave from beyond half court erased that narrative and the Titans won the game in overtime to end the Knights’ district title dreams.

CB South got the better of North Penn on the Knights’ home court earlier this month. Tuesday night, however, long-distance, buzzer-beating turnabout was only fair play.

Hubert buried a very deep 3-pointer in the final moments of the fourth quarter to force overtime and with 17.8 seconds left in the extra period the senior made both ends of a 1-and-1 from the foul line to  give the Knights a 51-50 Suburban One League Continental Conference victory.

“Districts was a little bit devastating but to come here and do this now is great,” Huber said.

Huber scored 14 of her team-best 20 points after halftime, as North Penn (17-2, 8-2 conference) found a way to pick up their 11th straight victory despite having Sam Carangi foul out in the fourth’s final minute and Irisa Ye picking up her fifth foul in OT.

“I just wanted to go in there and just show them third time’s a charm,” Huber said. “It’s hard to beat a team three times and to see two of our starters go out it’s just a little heartbroken, but I just try to keep everyone up and just going.”

Ye finished with 17 points – scoring 10 in the first half – while Bri Hewlett added 10 points and grabbed the decisive rebound after Maddie McShane’s free throw to tie the game at 51 at 3.5 seconds in overtime was off target.

“Jess Huber obviously came up huge – huge,” Knights coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “And the kids that came off the bench did a nice like Jenny (Hulmes) and Carley Adams made that play and that’s what it’s all about.”

North Penn’s win coupled with Central Bucks West’s loss to Souderton gives the Knights sole possession of first in the SOL Continental with two conference games remaining.

“Jess Huber has just hit big shot after big shot for us this year. And when we needed it most,” deMarteleire said. “I’m really proud of her.”

North Penn had trouble all night slowing down South’s Haley Meinel, who collected a game-high 24 points, 17 coming after the break.

“Number one, we knew she drove baseline and we gave that up a couple times but just her slashing, we didn’t put a body on her,” said deMarteleire of Meinel.  “We just let her go wherever she wanted to go. And she’s so quick, she killed us.”

Alexa Brodie added 13 points for the Titans (16-4, 6-4), who a three-game win streak snapped.

Both teams have conference games Thursday. North Penn hosts Pennridge while Central Busk South visits Central Bucks East.

Trailing 41-40 with 14.5 seconds remaining in the fourth, North Penn was called for a five-second violation and was forced to foul Brodie, who made both ends of her 1-and-1 for a 43-40 CB South edge at 11.9 seconds.

Ye brought the ball upcourt and set a hand-off screen for Huber. The USciences commit was well beyond the arc but let go a shot that hit nothing but net, the buzzer going off before the Titans got a chance to inbounds the ball.

“The play was basically for Irisa to drive and just see the kick,” Huber said. “It wasn’t necessarily for me. It was for anyone who was open. It just so happened that I was open. And I got and I knew that time was going down, so I just shot it. Luckily it went in.”

A Huber corner 3-pointer gave North Penn a 47-45 lead in OT but four straight Brodie free throws had the Titans on top 49-47 with 1:20 left.

Huber missed a three, South grabbed the rebound and called time out, but its inbounds was deflected by Hewlett and ruled last touched by the Titans. The Knights pulled even on the ensuing possession, Adams have her shot inside blocked, but putting in a second chance to make it 49-49 in the last minute.

McShane was fouled on the perimeter at 19.8 seconds, but could not convert a free throw and Huber was knocked down grabbing the rebound.  With 17.3 seconds, Huber calmly made both halves of a 1-and-1 for a 51-49 Knights lead.

“All my teammates came up to me and said ‘Pressure,’ cause they know Sam always says that,” Huber said. “That really helped. All their support was just incredible so I was just glad that it worked out for us.”

Brodie could not score on a drive however McShane swooped in for a rebound and was fouled on her putback attempt at 3.5 seconds. The first free throw was good, the second was not and Hewlett hauled in the rebound in the lane – the Titans unable to foul before the clock ran out.

“This was a big game,” deMarteleire said. “And to win it the way we did, jus shows a lot of character, a lot of grit. I’m really proud of the girls.

In the first quarter, Central Bucks South ripped off a 10-2 run to grab a 14-7 after a Meinel jumper. A Huber bucket off a drive had NP within five at the end of the period.

The Knights settled down on offense in the second quarter. Huber buried a three to tie the contest 18-18 while Hewlett connected on a trey for North Penn’s first lead. A Hewlett jumper pushed the advantage to five before a Meinel free throw with 44 seconds remaining made it 23-19 at halftime.

“When we kept our spacing on offense and that worked well for us, we get in trouble when we get too close to each other. And some of our decision making in the first quarter wasn’t the great, but I thought in the second quarter we did much better.”

The Titans began the third with seven straight points – four from Meinel – to go up 26-23 before Hewlett had NP back level with a corner three. After a Huber three-point play at 2:39, Carangi connected with Ye for a breakaway layup and a 31-26 lead.

Meinel proceeded to score the next five points to even the matchup at 31 but Huber drained a 3-pointer to send NP up 34-31 entering the final quarter.

A Lexi Edwards three and a Meinel bucket gave South a 36-34 edge early in the fourth. Hewlett went coast-to-coast off a Titans turnover, scored and was fouled – she missed the free throw to keep it tied 36-36 at 5:01.

A Meinel transition layup had CB South back ahead but Ye quickly answered. Edwards’ free throw at 3:44 made it 39-38 before Ye gave North Penn in last lead in regulation at 40-39.

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