DOYLESTOWN >> When her 1,000th point finally came, Sam Carangi had one feeling.
“Relief, I guess,” the North Penn senior said. “A lot of relief.”
Carangi came into Tuesday night’s road contest with Central Bucks West needing nine points to reach the career scoring milestone and the Villanova commit finish on the dot — reaching it with 101 seconds remaining in the Knights’ 59-40 victory.
With 1:41 to go in the fourth quarter, Carangi went to the foul line sitting on 999. Her first effort veered left and missed. But the second found it way through and Carangi found herself in the arms of fellow senior Jess Huber before the rest of the team surrounded her in celebration.
“It was amazing,” Carangi said. “All my teammates supported me, it was really good.”
GIRLS #BASKETBALL: @NPKnightsGBB‘s @samiicar scores her 1,000th career point on a free throw in 4Q of NP’s 59-40 win over CB West. pic.twitter.com/LPZGTBgno2
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) January 18, 2017
It has been a tough finishing stretch to 1,000. Carangi has battled through an illness that has made her miss practice, but she has been on the court on game day during a busy stretch.
She chipped in seven points in last Friday’s 43-29 home win over Central Bucks East to pull 18 shy of four digits. Carangi then cut the amount needed in half with nine points Sunday as the Knights topped Episcopal Academy 62-29 at the Play-by-Play Classic at Philadelphia University.
“She’s been sick for like 10 days, she’s been really struggling,” North Penn coach Maggie deMarteleire said. “And they have midterms going on right now, so and we have five games in eight days. So I don’t mean to sound like Wendy Whiner but it’s been a rough patch. And for the kids to be to able just rise up and play the way they did tonight I’m so proud of them.”
Carangi describes playing under the weather as “kind of difficult, like out of breath’ but somehow found one positive.
“Jess has been doing the same thing, we kind of been going through the same thing. And I don’t know, I kind of think it’s pulled us together,” she said. “Other people stepped up and really helped our team.”
Tuesday night, Carangi had just two points at halftime — those coming on a putback in the opening quarter — then tacked on three more in the third. She sliced to the basket to pull within one in the fourth before another drive drew a whistle for the free throws that finally got her to 1,000.
“We all wanted it for her,” Huber said. “As soon as we found out she only needed one more point, we all the same play to isolate her. We wanted it more than I think she wanted it. But it’s just a great milestone for her.”
Carangi is the 11th player in North Penn girls basketball history to reach 1,000 career points and the fifth since deMarteleire took over the program in 2007.
“It means a lot because Vicky (Tumasz), Mikaela (Giuliani), even people I didn’t play with necessarily like Lauren (Crisler), Steph Knauer, I always looked up to them when I was a little kid and a player,” Carangi said. “And the fact that I’m up there with them now kind of means a lot.”
The scoring mark is another part of the continued success of the Knights and their senior class of Carangi, Huber and Irisa Ye. All three are four-year varsity players that through Tuesday have won 82 percent of their games (87-19) at North Penn. They won a District 1-AAAA title as freshman in 2014 and have reached the PIAA tournament the previous three years, including a trip to the state semifinals last season.
“All three of them, the seniors (Carangi, Huber and Irisa Ye), they came in with three really good seniors (Tumasz, Erin Maher and Bri Cullen) and now I feel like they want to make sure that they accomplish at least as much as they did when they were freshmen and when Erin, Bri and Vicky were seniors,” deMarteleire said. “They were great role models and I feel like these girls want to make sure that they pay them back.”
A defense of their Suburban One League Continental Conference title — and third crown in four seasons — looked to be in trouble when Central Bucks South beat North Penn 48-34 Jan. 5. The defeat sent the Knights 2-2 in the conference but since then NP has posted five straight Ws, three in SOL Continental play, including Tuesday night.
“It really shows how resilient of a team we are that we can bounce back from a loss like that,” Carangi said. “I’m not going to lie, it was kind of embarrassing to lose that way (to CB South) but I think as a team we really came together and we took away from that loss.”
GIRLS #BASKETBALL: @NPKnightsGBB‘s @samiicar scores on a drive for career points No. 998 & 999 4Q vs. CB West. pic.twitter.com/WQuaHhkSJu
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) January 18, 2017
Against Central Bucks West, the Knights burst out to an 18-2 lead in the first quarter. CB West battled back to pull within four early in the third quarter, but North Penn responded by ending the period with a 15-2 run — Huber with scoring nine straight during the spurt as she finished with a game-high 24 points.
“It’s a really big win for us and Jess Huber played amazing,” Carangi said. “She played so well she came ready to play and they really helped us get confidence I think.”
Bri Hewlett scored 10 of her 15 points after halftime while Carangi’s 1,000th point the final point in the win, which put the Knights in a four-way tie for first with West, CB South and Souderton at 5-2.
“We knew we had to win this game,” Huber said. “Or else our league is so good that everyone’s just going to come back. So, we knew we had to win it in order to get a top seed. So I think for us to come out and play like we did today I think it sends a huge message to all the other teams.”
Top Photo: North Penn’s Sam Carangi poses for a picture after the Knights’ 59-40 win over Central Bucks West on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Carangi scored her 1,000th career on a free throw in the game’s fourth quarter. (Mike Cabrey/Digital First Media)