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North Penn routs Central in PIAA AAAA 1st round

PHILADELPHIA >> The North Penn girls basketball left South Philadelphia High School with a 32-point victory and a spot in the PIAA Class AAAA second round. The Knights, however, were not especially satisfied with what they did on the court Friday night.

“Overall, I don’t think we played too well at all,” North Penn junior Irisa Ye said. “But because they’re a much lower level, we were able to get away with it.”

District 12 runner-up Central did not give the Knights much trouble in their first-round contest. North Penn, which finished fifth in District 1, scored the first 11 points, was up 25 at halftime, led by as much as 32 and reach the state Round of 16 for the fourth straight season with a 59-27 win over the Lancers.

“It wasn’t that we weren’t focused, I just thought that we played a little bit sloppy,” NP coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “And I don’t think we played as smart as we’re capable of.”

Mikaela Giuliani scored half of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter while Ye had 11 points in the first half and ended up with 17. Jess Huber chipped in nine points for the Knights (27-3), who won their third straight after falling in the district quarters to Central Bucks South.

“I think we’re going to learn a little bit from tonight,” deMarteleire said. “And moving forward, that’s probably going to help us.”

North Penn advances to face District 1 champ Perkiomen Valley — which defeated District 3’s No. 7 Red Lion 60-50 at Wissahickon — Tuesday at a site and time to be announced.

The Knights and Perk Valley met in the season opener on Dec. 4 with the Vikings coming away with a 69-50 victory.

“That was the first game of the season, we’re a much better team now,” Ye said. “We still go to watch film, and study what we did wrong, things like that, and work on it in practice. But we’re a better team now that the first game, we’re not going to think about that.”

Andrea Stanton paced Central with 17 points, 16 coming after halftime. The Lancers were looking to earn their first PIAA win since 2011, instead they were the seventh teams this season North Penn defeated by at least 30 points. But the final margin did not mean the Knights played up to their standards.

“I thought there were definitely some things that we did not do very well,” deMarteleire said. “I felt like we let their defense dictate a little bit too much. And then in the second half defensively we did not play well. We did not contain No. 5 (Stanton) she had a lot of points in the second half.”

And while deMarteleire was looking for a better performance, there were a couple positives.

“The effort was there. There’s no doubt the effort was there,” she said. “And I thought overall we rebounded pretty well at both ends. But we just want to play a little bit more cleaner than that.”

Ye collected the game’s first bucket then after five straight points from Bri Hewlett added two more. Sam Carangi’s putback made it 11-0 before Central got on the scoreboard on Taylor Viz’s basket. Giuliani’s two free throws made it 13-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Huber and Ye had NP’s advantage at 23-3. Ye got into double figures when she scored in the lane to make it 27-3 with 1:43 left in the half.

“I just took what they gave me,” Ye said. “They just gave me the lane and I ran the floor and they weren’t getting back on defense, so I got easy layups ahead. So, I just took what they gave me. If I was open, I still took a shot even if my shooting was off.”

A Giuliani hoop gave North Penn its biggest lead of the first half at 30-3 before Central scored four straight points. Giuliani added two more to put NP up 32-7 at the break.

After Stanton began the third with a trey, Ye put up four straight points. Another Stanton triple made it 36-13, but five consecutive points from Giuliani pushed the lead to 29. Giuliani capped the quarter with back-to-back putbacks for a 49-18 lead.

The Knights led by as much as 33 three times in the fourth, the last time at 58-25 after a Giuliani free throw with 1:35 remaining.

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