Plymouth Whitemarsh stays perfect, hands Upper Dublin 1st loss

UPPER DUBLIN >> Coach Dan Dougherty felt his Plymouth Whitemarsh girls basketball side was “living very dangerously” allowing Upper Dublin a number of quality looks from long range early.

“In the first half, I just told the team it’s certainly not a winning strategy to let Upper Dublin get so many open threes,” he said. “You give (UD coach) Morgan (Funsten) that much time to prepare for our press, he’s going to have a design to get open threes against it.”

But Friday night never got perilous for the Colonials in a matchup of undefeated SOL Liberty Division rivals. The Cardinals had a cold-shooting touch at the start and PW’s Anna McTamney and Kaitlyn Flanagan made sure the Colonials took advantage.

The duo combined to score 19 of PW’s 22 first-half points as the visitors went into halftime up 10 and from there never let the Cardinals back into the contest – Plymouth Whitemarsh extending its lead to as large as 18 in the second half in claiming a 46-31 victory.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Anna McTamney (32) tries to save a ball from going out of bounds against Upper Dublin during their game on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

“Our press we weren’t rotating enough and they were getting all these open shots so we just had to be able to rebound,” McTamney said. “Because if those shots weren’t going to go in then we have to make sure we can grab the ball and then push it up the floor.”

McTamney, a USciences commit, scored 11 of her game-high 15 points before halftime including the first seven of a 10-0 first-quarter run that gave the Colonials (6-0, 5-0 division) a lead they lead for good.

Flanagan added 11 points – eight in the first half, the last two on a jumper in the final seconds before the break to put PW up 22-12 and the visitors’ lead never dipped into single digits over the final 16 minutes in earning sole possession of first place in the SOL Liberty

“So they missed a little bit in the first half and we made some shots,” Dougherty said. “And then in the second half, I think for our team, everyone back, I said in the locker room in the halfway right there we played them four times last year. Now they are a different team but our kids got the experience of playing Upper Dublin four times last year so now we’re coming in, we had a great practice yesterday and we came into tonight and everything was comfortable.”

Sarah Eskew scored 12 points to paced Upper Dublin (8-1, 4-1), which tied a season-low offensive output while the 46 points were the most the Cardinals have allowed so far this year.

“We try not to look at shoot-making as determinate of how well you play and we actually thought we played really well in the first half,” Funsten said. “We thought the way they were beating us were ways that they don’t always beat teams. They usually beat teams by turning teams over and I thought we took care of the ball really well in the first half. They beat teams by getting offensive rebounds and beating people up down low cause of their great team size. But in the first half we did a great job of taking that away. We just struggled to make a shot.”

Both teams play Saturday – Plymouth Whitemarsh hosting Central Bucks West in an SOL nondivision contest at 2:30 p.m. while Upper Dublin is home for SOL Liberty matchup with Quakertown at 7 p.m.

The Cardinals and Colonials don’t have to wait long to meet on the court again as UD visits PW Friday.

Upper Dublin’s Sarah Eskew (24) drives the lane against Plymouth Whitemarsh during their game on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

“In big games like this you hope to kind of rely on the experience we have and like I said we get another chance next Friday,” Funsten said. “These girls have always been great at bouncing back from tough losses. We came in expecting to win the game today. We come in expecting to win every game so we’re excited about another challenge next Friday against them, having a week of practice, try to make some adjustments and learn from the mistakes we made tonight.”

The Cardinals led just once at 2-0 before PW registered the next five point. An Eskew three knotting things at five but McTamney proceeded to score seven straight on a putback, a corner 3-pointer and a drive. Flanagan followed with a three to give the Colonials a 15-5 lead.

“I feel like moving the ball up the floor and we knew last year when we played Upper Dublin in districts we just had a lot of driving lanes from spreading out the defense,” McTamney said. “So from experience we knew how to work the ball around and who was going to be open and  where we needed to pass the ball to and whatnot.”

Amy Ngo’s 3-pointer halted the 10-0 PW run and cut the margin to 15-8 at the end of the opening quarter.

Neither side got much going in the second quarter, the teams combining for just 11 points. After McTamney’s underhanded scoop had the Colonials back up 10 at 19-9, UD pulled within eight twice but Flanagan’s jumper from the top the circle dropped in with less than five seconds to go in the half to make it 22-12.

“Having the lead very early in the game it was exciting,” McTamney said. “But we knew we couldn’t get too ahead of ourselves because there’s still two more quarters and we have to finish out the half.”

PW”s Erin Daley scored six of her eight points in the third including the last four of a 6-0 run to open the quarter that pushed the Colonials lead to 28-12.

“Erin Daley is outstanding,” Dougherty said. “She is a kid that is a first-team all-conference level talent. She is a wonderful person because she’s not concerned about her own stats or anything like that. She wants the team to win, she wants her teammates to (have) success. She enjoys a great assist as much as she does a great move to the basket.

“And, yeah, when you have Erin Daly as your third or fourth option offensively, you have a lot of great options.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Kaitlyn Flanagan (5) gets a jump shot off over Upper Dublin’s Amy Ngo (22) during their game on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

Plymouth Whitemarsh led by 16 twice more in the third before heading to the fourth up 33-19. A Flanagan bucket and two Daley free throws to start the final quarter gave the Colonials their biggest lead at 37-19 with 6:17 remaining.

The Cardinals put together an 11-4 run to pull within 41-30 at 2:42 after Jess Polin’s three but that was close as UD could get.

Plymouth Whitemarsh 46, Upper Dublin 31
Plymouth Whitemarsh 15 7 11 13 – 46
Upper Dublin 8 4 7 12 – 31
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Anna McTamney 6 2-2 15; Kaitlyn Flanagan 4 1-2 11; Erin Daley 3 2-2 8; Jordyn Thomas2 3-4 7; Lainey Allen 1 1-2 3; Gabby Cooper 0 2-2 2; Totals 16 11-14 46.
Upper Dublin: Sarah Eskew 4 3-4 12; Amy Ngo 3 0-0 7; Jess Polin 2 0-0 6; Dayna Balasa 1 1-2 4; Bliss Brenner 0 2-4 2; Totals 10 6-10 31.
3-pointers: PW-Flanagan 2, McTamney; UD-Polin 2, Balasa, Eskew, Ngo.

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