Moore helps add heart, talent for young Penn Wood

LANSDOWNE >> Brianna Moore is the new girl at Penn Wood.

Moore didn’t know a single soul at the high school when she transferred from South Charleston High in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

“It was very different, from the people where I used to live and where I live around now. A whole different experience,” said Moore, the Patriots’ senior combo guard.

“But it didn’t take me long to get to know everyone. I play sports and that helped (with the transition). It wasn’t that difficult.”

After Penn Wood lost a slew of top players to graduation, including starters Joy Morton, Gabrielle Hairston and two-time All-Delco Dahnye Redd, first-year head coach Kareem Wright was anticipating a lot from his transfer.

But Moore has surpassed everyone’s expectations with her talent on the court.

“She has unlimited heart and that’s something you can’t teach,” Wright said. “Not only did she bring a spark, but just the fact that she’s able to handle the ball and run our offense and get us going, that’s been a big difference for us this year. We already knew that we had (junior guard) Carle Andrews who would be a force shooting the ball, but having Brianna out there is an equalizer along with Khalia (Gordon) and her athleticism.

“It was kind of a perfect storm for us. We’ve had a hard time jelling and it’s kind of been up-and-down for us, but we’re starting to come together more and more.”

Moore put on a show Tuesday night in a critical Del Val League showdown with Interboro.

With the Bucs having won the previous meeting between the clubs, the Patriots needed a victory to ensure a chance at winning at least a share of the Del Val League title for the fourth consecutive year.

Led by Moore’s 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals, Penn Wood rolled to a 65-47 decision.

The win improves the Patriots’ chances at qualifying for the District 1 Class 5A playoffs and puts them in the driver’s seat for the league championship.

“The first game (against Interboro) I just think the girls had a tough time sticking to the program of what we wanted to accomplish and maybe we got caught up in the environment,” Wright said.

“Being that we only have two seniors (Moore and Wright), you know, some of the rust was still on and kids were trying to do too much. But we watched the film of the game … and realized all that we did wrong. We always felt like that was a game that we should’ve won, if we would have done the things we know how to do. We game-planned, especially for this game, and made some changes offensively and defensively, stuff that (Interboro) wouldn’t be prepared for. I think it threw them for a loop.”

Penn Wood (10-9, 5-1) raced to a 5-0 lead.

After Interboro (11-10, 5-2) scored five straight points, the Patriots regained control and never looked back. Penn Wood used a stifling press which ignited its fast-break game.

The Patriots closed the first half on a 10-0 run to take a commanding 33-16 advantage into the locker room.

“We read the newspaper after the last game and that got us going a little bit. We’ve been preparing for Interboro,” said Andrews, who entered Tuesday as the county’s leading scorer at 18.1 points per game. She finished with 13 points, six steals, two assists and a block.

“We knew that they beat (Academy Park), so we came for vengeance. We knew we had to beat them after they beat us last time.”

Moore and Andrews did plenty of damage against the Bucs. Moore scored 14 of her points in the second half, following up on Andrews’ 11-point show in the first two quarters.

“It’s funny, because we have the best chemistry on the team,” Andrews said. “I’m happy that we got her on the team.”

Interboro tried to battle back early in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 11 points after a pair of free throws by Marta Walewska, but the Bucs were plagued by poor ball management.

The Bucs committed 27 turnovers compared to the Patriots’ 12.

“We had to pick up the pace,” said Moore, who shot 11 of 17 from the field. “In this game, we ran through our plays and got a lot of open looks.”

Moore said there is a big difference between West Virginia hoops and high school basketball in Pennsylvania.

“It’s definitely more competitive here,” she said.

“The other team I played for had competition, but here it’s really different. Up here we play a variety of teams and travel a lot. Down where I used to live, we never did that.”

Gordon added 10 points and Kianna Elam came off the bench to score eight points for the Patriots. Amber Seamen paced the Bucs with 16 points, while Walewska had 14 points and team highs in rebounds (11) and assists (five).

In another Del Val League game:

Academy Park 40, Chester 37 >> Mahya Woodton hit the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired in regulation. Riley Street led Academy Park with 11 points, while Elisha Hernandez added 10.

Clayshonia Cogman had 10 points, six rebounds and seven steals for Chester.

Myah Phillips netted eight points and Monique Colbert contributed seven points and 14 rebounds.

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