Andrews steps up, Penn Wood advances

UPPER MERION >> Penn Wood looked finished. It lost the lead it held the entire game and was trailing by seven as the third quarter was winding down.

Then Carle Andrews stepped up — just like she had all game long.

Andrews hit a deep three as the third quarter ended to bring the No. 9 seeded Patriots within four of No. 8 seeded Upper Merion.

Penn Wood carried that momentum into the fourth quarter, took the lead with 2:33 remaining and went on to 51-47 first-round victory over the Vikings in the District 1 Class 5A playoffs.

“I was happy I made it,” said Andrews, who scored a game-high 20 points. “I was happy my team had confidence in me to pass me the ball at the end.”

Brianna Moore put Penn Wood in front for good. She converted an old-fashioned three-point play to turn a 42-41 deficit into a 44-42 lead.

That was just part of the senior’s big fourth quarter. She scored eight of her 12 points in the final eight minutes before fouling out to help her team advance to the second round.

Upper Merion struggled against the Penn Wood defense early. The Vikings turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter and trailed by seven, 13-6, heading into the second.

“We are very athletic,” Penn Wood coach Kareem Wright said. “My girls — I actually have to dial them back because they just want to go after the ball. The effort — you can’t teach that. In the games we’ve played in, we’ve always had a chance to win because of our defense.”

“When our defense is really good we talk and communicate,” Andrews said. “We try to work on defense more so than offense because defense wins games. Defense is big for us.”

But the Vikings figured it out in the two middle quarters. Upper Merion scored 16 points in the second and third and had their largest lead (seven points) before Andrews ended the third with a trey.

“It wasn’t over, but that gave them the momentum after that,” Upper Merion junior Jordan Wilson said of Andrews’ three.

In the fourth, the turnovers returned. The Vikings lost the ball six times in the fourth after just seven combined in the second and third quarters.

The Vikings were held to nine points in the fourth — six from Wilson.

Senior Jessica Michael and Wilson each scored 13 to lead Upper Merion and junior Amya Anthoney added eight.

The Patriots will meet top-seeded Springfield in the second round Friday night.

The loss brings Upper Merion’s season to an end. A team with just two seniors, the Vikings finished first in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division before losing in the semifinals of the league tournament.

“It was definitely a success,” Wilson said. “From where we were last year — I’m proud of what we did tonight but obviously I wanted to come out with a win.”

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