EAST ROCKHILL >> Basketball is commonly referred to as a game of runs. But roller coaster was a more fitting description for the Souderton girls team’s contest with host Pennridge Friday night.
Eleven straight points to end the first quarter had the Indians up 17-4 only for the advantage to evaporate before halftime, the Rams erupting for 27 points to lead by five at the break.
A less volatile third ended with Pennridge still ahead by four, but at the start of the fourth Souderton found a spark on offense, grabbed the lead and proceeded to clamp down on the Rams. The Indians pitched a shutout in the final quarter, scoring all 12 points in the period to rally for a 50-42 victory in the SOL Colonial Division matchup.
“When she came in, she’s like ‘They scored 27 points,’ it was like ‘No they didn’t,’ it was like ‘You’re kidding,” Souderton senior Teya McConnaha said. “And then they came in and told us they were at zero points in the fourth, I’m like ‘No you’re kidding, like that’s not possible.”
McConnaha, wearing a mask due to breaking her nose during the Tampa Bay Christmas Invitational, recorded a double-double with a game-high 15 points and 15 rebounds, helping Souderton pick up a second consecutive win and move closer to securing back-to-back division titles.
“Halftime the talk was third quarter needs to be our best quarter of defense this season,” Indians coach Lynn Carroll said. “Turns out that it was the fourth quarter. But it’s such a great win at a crucial time of the season. And I couldn’t be more proud of how our girls played in the second half.”
Casey Harter added 10 points, six assists and five rebounds for Souderton (16-3, 13-1 SOL Colonial) while Erin Bohmueller had nine points on a trio of 3-pointers – two coming in the fourth – and handed out six assists.
“We have a veteran squad at this point and they’ve been in – you name it – they’ve been in every scenario there is on the basketball court,” Carroll said. “When we go into the locker room, I let them talk first and they pretty much say anything that the coaches had just been discussing they already know. They’re a smart group, they’ve been playing together for so long but a lot of it is stay the course and fine-tuning certain things.”
Katie Yoder paced Pennridge (13-6, 8-5) with 14 points, going 8-for-8 from the foul line. Anna Croyle scored 11 points while all of Ella Brown’s nine points came in the second quarter as the Rams had their four-game win streak snapped.
“At halftime we talked about how we hold some teams to 27 in a game and they scored that in the second quarter but no one is playing as well as Pennridge is right now,” Carroll said. “They are really playing well. Jason (Rapp) has them running good stuff and getting looks for certain kids.
“And everybody’s playing their role for Pennridge and they’ve been really successful against extremely talented teams. And we know that they can suddenly make 10 shots in a row.”
Both teams have road division contests Tuesday. Souderton, fourth in the District 1-6A rankings, takes on North Penn at 6 p.m. with a win clinching at least a share of the Colonial title for the Indians. Pennridge, 13th in the district rankings, faces Central Bucks East at 7 p.m.
Pennridge led 31-26 at halftime and twice in the third increased the margin to seven, the last time at 35-28 after Yoder connected on a pair of free throws at 6:09.
An 8-1 Souderton run capped by two Harter foul shots at 3:18 tied things at 36 before a Croyle 3-pointer put the Rams back ahead. McConnaha scored inside but Croyle drained another trey to have Pennridge up 42-38 heading to the fourth.
Bohmueller began the final quarter by burying a trey while McConnaha scored off a drive to put Souderton ahead 43-42.
“We pretty much told ourselves ‘Hey, they’re up like six points, that’s chump change for us,’” McConnaha said. “We can get that in two seconds if we need to. We just need to go out and work on defense our hardest. Even if we’re not making baskets we can always come down another time and come get ‘em.”
Mikayla McGillian’s basket inside off a pass from Bohmueller made it 45-42 before Bohmueller knocked down another three to push Souderton’s lead to six.
“I’m really happy for Erin, she was able to hit a few tonight,” Carroll said. “And you always worry if you go a couple and a shooter isn’t making them, you’re worried that they’ll become hesitant and we don’t want Erin to ever hesitate to shoot the ball. But, yeah, those were two big threes in the fourth quarter.”
The Indians continued to keep the Rams scoreless in the quarter and with 1:52 remaining Grace McDonough hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to put the Big Red up 50-42.
“The third quarter we switched Grace onto Katie Yoder, just Casey had picked up a couple fouls and it just doesn’t give her the freedom to defend the way she wants to defend,” Carroll said. “And I thought Grace defended really, really well on Yoder. She’s the biggest kid in the gym at 6-2 but has the footwork and speed of a guard and I think that made a bit of a difference.
“But when we went into our 1-3-1 defense and they never really were able to figure out how to crack it and that was really the difference maker. And then boxing out out of it.”
Souderton appeared to take control early with its 11-0 run to finish the opening quarter – three consecutive 3-pointers from Bohmueller, Harter and Brooke Fenchel then a McConnaha putback just before the buzzer for a 17-4 lead.
Pennridge, however, began the second quarter with an 8-1 burst, cutting the margin to 18-12 after a Yoder basket in transition.
Harter hit a trey but Croyle’s 3-point play after rebounding her own miss at 4:16 followed by a Brown triple made it 21-18.
McGillian’s basket inside had the Indians up five only for back-to-back threes from Grace Rosica and Ava Fantaskey to give Pennridge its first lead at 24-23.
“We weren’t prepared for that really,” said McConnaha of Pennridge’s long-range shooting. “And we weren’t getting over the screens like we should of and we weren’t calling all the time so their threes definitely hurt us a lot.”
A McConnaha bucket put Souderton up 25-24 before Brown responded to give the Rams back a one-point edge.
McConnaha’s free throw with 1:28 remaining tied the game at 26 but Pennridge scored the half’s last five points. Croyle’s pair from the foul line at 1:08 made it 28-26 with a Brown runner in the lane after a steal and two Yoder free throws with 3.9 seconds giving the Rams a 31-26 lead.
Souderton 50, Pennridge 42
Souderton 17 9 12 12 – 50
Pennridge 4 27 11 0 – 42
Souderton: Teya McConnaha 6 3-4 15; Casey Harter 3 2-3 10; Erin Bohmueller 3 0-0 8; Mikayla McGillian 3 1-2 7; Brooke Fenchel 2 0-1 5; Grace McDonough 1 2-2 4; Totals 18 8-12 50.
Pennridge: Katie Yoder 3 8-8 14; Anna Croyle 3 3-5 11; Ella Brown 4 0-0 9; Ava Fantaskey 2 0-0 5; Grace Rosica 1 0-0 3; Totals 13 11-13 42.
3-pointers: S-Bohmueller 3, Harter 2, Fenchel; P-Croyle 2, Brown, Fantaskey, Rosica.
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