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Erin Sweeney, Archbishop Carroll’s defense prove too much for North Penn

North Penn's Carley Adams (23) has a shot blocked by Archbishop Carroll's Rose Henry (33) during their game on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (James Beaver/For Digital First Media)

RADNOR >> Erin Sweeney carried the offense and Archbishop Carroll’s defense took care of the rest Monday night when the Patriots beat North Penn, 45-29, at Archbishop Carroll High School.

Sweeney scored more than half of Carroll’s points — dropping 24 — to go along with seven rebounds. She made three three-pointers and went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line.

“Erin is huge for us,” Carroll coach Renie Shields said. “Not only can Erin shoot, but she understands the offense. She’s our outlet. She knows where people need the ball, when they want the ball and how they want to score. She’s always a focal point of the offense. Thankfully she’s on our team.”

“Just trying to cut and get to the basket,” Sweeney said of her big night. “My teammates passed to me when I was open.”

Archbishop Carroll’s Karli Dougherty (21) crashes through North Penn defenders on her way in for a layup during their game on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (James Beaver/For Digital First Media)

Sweeney was a consistent force for the Patriots all game. She scored seven points in the first quarter, three in the second, nine in the third and five in the fourth — all quarter-highs for her team.

“She shot the ball from the inside, shot the ball outside and we just didn’t do a good job of closing out on her on the perimeter,” NP coach Jen Carangi said. “My question to them at halftime was how many shots does she have to make before we’re going to guard her. She shot the ball really well today.”

Archbishop Carroll’s defense did the rest.

The Patriots (11-5) forced 19 turnovers in the game — compared to just 11 North Penn made field goals.

“We focus a lot on our defense,” Shields said. “We want to make sure the girls understand positioning and taking away angles and then make the other team feel uncomfortable. I thought we did a pretty good job.”

“We knew coming in, they’re just notorious,” Carangi said. “Their coach is fantastic. We knew they were going to be solid defensively. We missed too many open shots. We got looks — we got great looks at the basket. I feel like that’s been the story of our season. We just need to start making shots.”

North Penn’s Alaina Mullaly (20) moves the ball down the baseline as Archbishop Carroll’s Erin Sweeney (22) defends late in the fourth quarter of their game on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (James Beaver/For Digital First Media)

Carroll ramped up the intensity in the fourth quarter.

A double-digit lead midway through the third was trimmed to six, but extended to eight in the final 30 seconds.

Neither team scored for three minutes in the fourth quarter. Carroll’s Harlem Jennings scored the first points with five minutes left and the Patriots forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass. After a North Penn timeout, Sweeney scored to extend the lead back to 12.

“We just kept our energy up” Sweeney said of the fourth. “We kept talking on defense.”

The Knights (6-9) didn’t score in the fourth quarter until there was one minute left and they finished the quarter with one point.

Archbishop Carroll’s Mary deSimone (14) launches a three-point shot early in the fourth quarter in the Patriots’ game against North Penn on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (James Beaver/For Digital First Media)

“We are not yet experienced enough to get ourselves in the position when other teams go on runs that we are mature enough to stop it,” Carangi said, “and not let it turn into — if we miss some shots on offense, well then it results in us playing poor defense. I feel like that’s what happened in the fourth quarter.”

“We got on our girls at halftime and after the third quarter and said we have to really focus on who is it they’re guarding and take accountability for who they are defending,” Shields said, “make sure they don’t score. I think we took it a little more serious in the fourth quarter.”

Sweeney was Carroll’s only scorer in double figures. Jennings added eight points and Mary deSimone had five.

Val McGriff led North Penn with 11 points. Alaina Mullaly added seven and Cayla Sharkey and Carley Adams each had four.

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