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Lainey Allen’s 20-rebound double-double leads Plymouth Whitemarsh past Abington, into SOL championship game

WHITEMARSH >> The expression says it’s difficult to beat a team three times in one season.

Plymouth Whitemarsh made it look easy. 

After sweeping Abington during the regular season, the Colonials handled a short-handed Ghosts team, 55-35, in the Suburban One League semifinals Monday night at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

Plymouth Whitemarsh huddles before its game against Abington Monday Feb. 14, 2022. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

The Colonials advance to the championship game Tuesday, when they will host Pennsbury at 7 p.m.

On the first possession of the game, Plymouth Whitemarsh grabbed three offensive rebounds before Lainey Allen gave the Colonials a lead they would hold the rest of the way. That was just the start of a dominant game on the glass for the SOL Liberty Division champs.

PW took advantage of Abington missing six-footer Cire Worley and out-rebounded the Ghosts 54-20.

“(Size) is always an advantage, honestly,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said. “There’s not many teams that have the size that we do from 2-5. Abby Sharpe is a half-inch away from being 6-foot tall and Kaitlyn Flanagan can really get up. There’s not many teams that match that size – size is always an advantage … When teams play us in man, I think our kids have really learned to use their size to get the shots that they want.”

Allen led the charge on the glass, grabbing 20 rebounds to go along with her 15 points.

“I had a size advantage, for sure,” Allen said. “With Cire Worley out, she’s such a good player and good asset for their team. With her being hurt, they were just at a disadvantage with height, which is an advantage for us since we’re so long. I was able to just drive to the middle and put it off the backboard. No one was able to block it or guard it.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Lainey Allen

Allen, a 6-2 senior, made four layups in the first quarter and added a free throw for nine points as PW jumped out to an 11-0 lead. 

“Lainey Allen just recognized immediately, ‘no one is guarding me,'” Dougherty said. “Lainey Allen is not just a post player. She is an elite, elite athlete and I thought the beginning of the game she showed it.”

Abington responded with seven straight points, but the Colonials countered with another 11-0 run that led to a 29-12 halftime lead.

The advantage reached 30 points, 44-14, just over halfway through the third quarter to start a running clock. Both teams emptied their benches in the fourth quarter before the final buzzer sounded, 55-35.

Worley, a junior who scored her 1,000th point earlier this month, missed her third straight game after suffering an injury against Quakertown on Feb. 10. She played in both of the regular season games against the undefeated Colonials, which were decided by seven and 12 points. 

“We tried something a little different tonight defensively,” Abington coach Dan Marsh said. “We aren’t good enough to play (PW) in half court. We can’t score. We need that crazy, hectic style and we weren’t able to do that tonight. It’s just one of those things. We gave it our all. They can go win SOLs. We are going to focus on districts now and get back to the way we play, get Cire healthy and go from there.”

“The first time we played against them (Worley) had 33 and then the second time against them she had 20,” Dougherty said. “It’s a completely different game in that a lot of their set offense revolves around her, too. I know they play a transition game, up-and-down, pressing and everything, but when you do get them into the half court, most of the sets are revolved around her or the attention gets drawn to her and then someone else is open.”

Marsh said the team expects to have Worley on the court when the Ghosts begin their District 1-6A playoff run on Feb. 23.

Allen’s 15 points were a game-high. Abby Sharpe added 12 points for PW while Erin Daley tallied 11.

Maya Johnson led the Ghosts with eight points.

Plymouth Whitemarsh 55, Abington 35

Abington 7 5 4 19 – 35

Plymouth Whitemarsh 14 15 17 9 – 55

A: Brown 0 2-2 2, H McGinley 0 0-0 0, Bowser 2 0-0 5, Reilly 1 0-0 3, Oleary 0 0-0 0, Day 0 1-2 1, Slavin 0 0-0 0, Helm 2 0-0 4, P McGinley 1 0-0 3, Reynolds 2 0-0 5, Johnson 3 0-0 8, Brusha 1 2-4 4. Total 12 5-8 35.

PW: Flanagan 2 1-2 5, Daley 3 4-6 11, Sharpe 4 4-4 12, Allen 6 3-8 15, Thomas 1 2-2 4, F Gooneratne 0 2-2 2, Balcer 0 2-2 2, Dinh 1 0-0 2, O’Hara 0 0-0 0, R Gooneratne 1 0-0 2. Total 18 18-26 55.

3-point goals: A: Bowser, Reilly, P McGinley, Reynolds, Johnson 2. PW: Daley. 

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