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Plymouth Whitemarsh offense sputters in 2nd half in loss to Central Bucks East

BUCKINGHAM >> The Plymouth Whitemarsh offense struggled during the second half of its first loss of the season against Central Bucks East Tuesday afternoon.

The Colonials managed just six points while turning the ball over nine times over the final 16 minutes as the Patriots rallied from a 13-point deficit to win, 32-29, at Central Bucks High School East.

“That’s what our team looks like without Kate Flanagan,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said, referring to the junior point guard who missed her second straight game. “It doesn’t fall on Abby Sharpe. It falls on the other four starters. They’re going on 100 games, 80 games, 40 games in their career. We need to step up and we didn’t. I told the team after the game – that second half there, if you could make a video of what a coach means when they say, ‘the other team wants it more.’ CB East wanted everything more.”

PW (14-1) didn’t score for the first 4:53 of the second half. Erin Daley made a pair of free throws to put the Colonials ahead, 25-14, but they were the only two points the Suburban One League Liberty Division champions would score in the third quarter.

The drought lasted for the final 3:07 of the third quarter and the first 5:15 of the fourth while CB East (14-1) scored 14 straight points to take a 28-25 lead. Daley split a pair of free throws to get the Colonials within two with 2:45 remaining in the game to break the 8:22 scoreless stretch.

East took its biggest lead of the game, 30-26, when Emily Chmiel scored with 1:20 remaining. Anna McTamney immediately responded for PW with a three-point play – the Colonials only field goal of the second half – to make it 30-29 with 1:07 left.

PW had fouls to give over the next 37 seconds before East traveled to give the Colonials the ball down one with 29.6 on the clock. Plymouth Whitemarsh gave it right back – their ninth turnover of the second half – and East’s Mia Salvati went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to make it a three-point game.

Gabby Cooper’s three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim and East celebrated its 32-29 victory.

PW hopes to have Flanagan, who also missed Saturday’s 47-44 win over Central Dauphin with a hamstring injury that kept her out for a few weeks during the soccer season last fall, back for the playoffs next week. Dougherty thinks the Colonials problems go beyond missing their All-League guard.

“It’s more than just we’re missing Kate,” he said. “Our kids are playing like they’re just going through the motions. It’s frustrating because they’re blowing a great opportunity.”

Tuesday’s game also could have big implications in seeding for the District 1-6A playoffs. The Colonials entered as the No. 2 seed and CB East was No. 4.

“We wanted the No. 1 seed,” Dougherty said. “We wanted to have all the games in our gym and now we’re not. We’re going to drop down the ratings and have to go play in other teams’ gyms, which we just saw what that looks like.”

PW got off to a good start in the first half. Sharpe scored eight points during an 11-1 first-quarter run to take an 11-3 lead less than six minutes into the game. At the end of the first quarter the Colonials led, 11-6.

East cut its deficit to 11-8 early in the second quarter, but PW responded with nine straight points to take a 20-8 lead. Daley scored the first four points of the run before McTamney hit a three and made two free throws. The advantage peaked at 13, 23-10, before heading to halftime ahead, 23-12.

McTamney led PW with 11 points. Sharpe added nine and Daley had seven.

Salvati led East with a game-high 16 points and Chmiel joined her in double figures with 10.

Central Bucks East 32, Plymouth Whitemarsh 29

Plymouth Whitemarsh 11 12 2 4 – 29

Central Bucks East 6 6 6 14 – 32

PW: Daley 2 3-4 7, Sharpe 3 1-2 9, Cooper 0 0-0 0, McTamney 2 6-7 11, Allen 0 0-0 0, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Evans 0 0-0 0. Total 8 10-13 29.

CBE: A Barry 0 0-0 0, E Barry 1 0-0 2, Burns 0 0-0 0, Chmiel 4 1-2 10, Curran 0 0-0 0, Duffy 2 0-0 4, Salvati 5 4-4 16. Total 12 5-6 32.

Three-point goals: PW: Sharpe 2, McTamney. CBE: Chmiel, Salvati 2.

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