FRANCONIA >> With the ball or without it, Souderton’s Olivia Schneider is fun to watch.
And tough to guard.
“Olivia, the way she moves off the ball, is so good. It’s hard to teach that kind of stuff,” Big Red coach Lynn Carroll said Friday night. “She just gets it. She is just so good at it and she got herself so many scoring opportunities tonight because of how smart she is away from the ball on offense.”
Schneider kept breaking free and getting to the hoop, and her game-high 17 points powered Big Red to a 43-30 victory over rival Pennridge in a Suburban One League Colonial Division game.
“A big part of my game is cutting, and I think a lot of people were hitting me (with passes) on cuts.”
Of Big Red’s 3-1 start, Schneider said: “It’s very exciting because we did lose our senior from last year, Mikayla Reese, who was a big part of our team. So I think it’s really exciting we have a good record and are doing well despite losing our big post player.”
Souderton rose to 3-1 with a Tuesday game at Central Bucks West up next. Pennridge, dropping to 0-3, will travel to Central Bucks South that same evening.
“A lot of her teammates were finding her and a lot of our baskets were assisted tonight, which is what we look for,” Carroll said of Schneider. “Pennridge did not quit. They kept coming and coming. They hit a couple big threes in the fourth quarter there and our girls hung in.”
Ryan Hodder hit a pair of jumpers to bring the Rams within 28-24 late in the third quarter. But Big Red took a seven-point lead into the fourth and pulled away.
Key for Souderton was “maintaining composure,” Schneider said, “when (the Rams) were playing tight defense and trying to foul.”
A three by Erin Bohmueller widened the margin to 38-25 and Souderton was in control. Souderton allowed just six fourth-quarter points.
“I thought for long, long stretches, our defense was very good,” Carroll said. “We had some lapses early but I think for a good portion of the game, our half-court defense was very good.”
Said Schneider: “After (the win over North Penn Tuesday), we realized we had a couple things to work on so this week at practice, we really focused on certain parts of our defense. And I think, overall, we really improved in those areas.”
BIG START >> Casey Harter (nine points) drove for two to get Big Red started in the first quarter.
The offense settled in further when a drive by Schneider netted another two.
Big Red was also finishing in transition, a basket by Schneider helping to push the Souderton lead to 12-5 after one.
A three by Grace Rosica and a pair of free throws by Katie Yoder got the Rams their first-quarter points, but Souderton’s defense was doing its job.
Big Red continued to control the pace in the second quarter, and another basket in transition, this one by Bohmueller, pushed Souderton further in front.
Mikayla McGillian worked her way in underneath for a bucket and Schneider hit an open jumper, giving Big Red a 22-14 lead at the break.
Schneider had eight first-half points for the Indians.
“It’s a good win in a strange year,” Carroll said. “We’re not close to where we would usually be at this time of the year (due to the shutdown), but I’m really pleased with the progress that we’re making.
“We wanna keep moving forward and the goal is to reach our potential as soon as possible.”
ON THE RISE >> Pennridge had its moments, led by freshman Anna Croyle’s nine points.
Croyle hit a pair of threes in the contest.
“The bottom line is we’re young,” Rams coach Mike Elton said. “In the first half, we struggled. We struggled to get a tempo on offense.
“But I thought in the second half, we came back, started to develop some patience on offense, had a little bit more intensity on defense. In the second half, we picked it up, and that’s part of the learning curve. They started to show what they’re capable of doing.”
SOUDERTON 43, PENNRIDGE 30
Pennridge 5 9 10 6 — 30
Souderton 12 10 9 12 — 43
Pennridge: Grace Rosica 1 2-2 5, Katie Yoder 1 5-5 7, Ryan Hodder 3 0-0 6, Kiersten Moyer 0 0-0 0, Emma Pyne 0 0-0 0, Hannah Croyle 3 4-7 12. Totals 8 11-14 30.
Souderton: Jordan Zimmerman 1 2-3 4, Erin Bohmueller 3 0-0 7, Olivia Schneider 7 3-4 17, Casey Harter 3 3-4 9, Teya McConnaha 0 4-4 4, Mikayla McGillian 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 12-15 43.
3-pointers: P-Rosica, Croyle 2; S-Bohmueller.