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Upper Dublin’s defense keys win over Bishop Shanahan

UPPER DUBLIN >> Upper Dublin has won plenty of games with its defense under head coach Morgan Funsten over the last 10 years.

The Cardinals did it again Tuesday night, topping Bishop Shanahan 48-41 at Upper Dublin High School, but this time it was a little different.

Upper Dublin huddles during a timeout against Bishop Shanahan Tuesday Dec. 28, 2021. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

Upper Dublin didn’t force any turnovers in the second half. The Cardinals just played disciplined defense, didn’t give up any easy looks and held the Eagles to 20 points over the final 16 minutes of play.

“It was what some people would say just boring old defense,” Funsten said, “keep the girl in front, try to limit their strengths on the court. Defensively is where we won the game. This is a team we played that can score from all five spots, they can shoot the ball really well, they probably average around 60 points a game. To hold them to 41 – the girls really did a good job.”

“Defensively, we prepare so much,” Upper Dublin sophomore guard Amy Ngo said. “We knew all their plays, we knew they didn’t like to go left at all. At least for me, I was on their right shoulder. I was trying to force them left as much as possible – that’s what we were all doing. We also knew they were shooters. We were trying to not let them shoot threes.”

The Cardinals (3-2) were more effective defending the three-point line after halftime. They allowed four triples in the first half compared to one in the second.

“You have to give credit to Upper Dublin,” Bishop Shanahan head coach Jim Powers said. “They played good defense, caused some havoc, rotated real hard, didn’t make it easy on us. We had some defensive breakdowns in the first half and we had a rough night shooting. When you don’t shoot well and you make a lot of mistakes on the other end, it’s a seven-point loss.

“We had some looks, didn’t knock them down. We forced some stuff because we panicked. We might have rushed a couple (shots) with their defense… We had some looks and we just couldn’t get the ball to go.”

On the offensive end, Ngo led the Cardinals with a game-high 17 points. She got the game started with a layup right off the opening tip and finished the first quarter with seven points.

“Other teams are going to know where (Ngo) is at all times,” Funsten said. “They’re going to try to do things to stop her. I haven’t met many people, or anybody, who works as hard as she does. She’s worked hard at her craft. She’s gotten much better, she’s improved a lot. I think you’ll see some really nice things from her this year in the future.”

Upper Dublin’s Amy Ngo

Geena Sarnoski joined Ngo in double figures with 12 points, five of which came in the fourth quarter while the Cardinals protected a three-possession lead.

“Geena’s a senior captain who’s been a great program-type of player of the years,” Funsten said. “She has a more featured role this year and I think she played within herself today and made great decisions. She made some big shots for us down the stretch.”

After holding a one-point lead through eight minutes, Upper Dublin took control of the game in the second quarter. Colleen Klammer’s six points paced the Cardinals in the frame as they outscored the Eagles (4-3), 14-7, to take a 29-21 advantage into halftime.

Klammer scored all six of her points in the second quarter, but she made her presence felt throughout the contest on the glass, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.

“I thought it was definitely (Klammer’s) best game of the year,” Funsten said. “She stabilized some things offensively for us as well when they were trying to run double teams at us. She did a really good job making the game simple for our guards when they were being pressured.”

Faith Ambrose led Bishop Shanahan with 13 points and Carolyn Sendi added eight.

Upper Dublin 48, Bishop Shanahan 41

Bishop Shanahan 14 7 9 11 – 41

Upper Dublin 15 11 7 12 – 48

BS: Ambrose 3 6-6 13, Wold 3 0-0 6, Brown 1 3-4 5, Bojko 2 1-4 7, Sendi 2 2-3 8, Griffin 1 0-0 2, Brumenthal 0 0-0 0. Total 12 12-17 41.

UD: Brenner 0 3-4 3, Klammer 2 2-2 6, Sarnoski 5 1-4 12, Kleiman 1 0-0 3, Sanders 2 1-2 5, Brady 0 0-0 0, Foster 1 0-3 2, Ngo 6 2-4 17. Total 17 9-19 48.

3-point goals: BS: Ambrose, Bojko 2, Sendi 2. UD: Sarnoski, Kleiman, Ngo 3.

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