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Plymouth Whitemarsh runs past Perk Valley, advances to PIAA-6A semifinals

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Abby Sharpe puts a shot up against Perkiomen Valley during Tuesday’s PIAA quarterfinal at Upper Dublin. (Owen McCue - MediaNews Group)

UPPER DUBLIN >> No Jordyn Thomas, no problem for Plymouth Whitemarsh. 

With their starting senior captain sidelined with a non-COVID illness, the (1-1) Colonials raced past (1-6) Perkiomen Valley, 56-31, in the PIAA-6A state quarterfinals Tuesday night at Upper Dublin High School. 

PW will face (3-3) Cedar Cliff in the semifinals Friday at a site and time to be determined. 

“I didn’t want to lose and have (Thomas) never play again,” PW senior Kaitlyn Flanagan said. “I wanted to win so she could get back out on the court.”

Without the 6-foot-1 forward on the floor, Plymouth Whitemarsh (32-0) started 5-foot-7 senior guard Fiona Gooneratne and tried to play at a faster pace. 

The speed was on full display at the end of the second quarter when Abby Sharpe scored three straight transition layups to extend a three-point lead to nine. The Colonials entered halftime with a 25-18 advantage.  

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Abby Sharpe (20) shoots over Perkiomen Valley’s Emma Miley during Tuesday’s PIAA quarterfinal at Upper Dublin. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

“When you have Flanagan, Sharpe, (Erin) Daley and Lainey Allen in that open floor, they are elite athletes,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said. “They are Division 1 athletes for a reason.

“That run at the end of the second quarter when we got some transition points – Abby’s ability to finish in transition was special. Extending into the third quarter, Flanagan’s decision-making was just incredible.”

Sharpe scored eight of her game-high 20 points in the second quarter. Two of her momentum-swinging layups came thanks to long, cross-court passes from Flanagan. 

“(Flanagan) is just so good at looking up the floor and getting the pass perfect,” Sharpe said. “It was great momentum having that little bit of a lead going into the second half.”

“When you’re the double-digit underdog,” PV coach John Russo said, “and you let many easy buckets go in the first half and they get three run-outs to close out the half, it’s almost a 10-point swing. If we are up five, six going into the third quarter then they’re in the locker room talking about something different. We let them be comfortable in the second half.”

The District 1 champions put the game away late in the 3rd quarter. A Flanagan free throw kicked off a 10-0 run – which featured an Allen three-point play, two Sharpe baskets and two more Flanagan free throws – to end the third ahead, 42-24.

The run grew to 18-2 in the fourth. PW’s Daley made a basket before PV’s Jennifer Beattie converted a layup. Flanagan and Daley sandwich free throws around an Allen basket to make it a 50-26 game with 5:16 to play. 

Flanagan and Allen joined Sharpe in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Flanagan added seven assists and Allen had 11 rebounds. 

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Kaitlyn Flanagan (5) shoots a layup against Perkiomen Valley during Tuesday’s PIAA quarterfinal at Upper Dublin. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Emma Miley and Quinn Boettinger led the Vikings (23-8) with 10 points apiece. 

The loss brings Perk Valley’s season to an end. The Vikings, who only lose two seniors, went farther in the state tournament than any team in program history. 

“It’s the furthest PV’s ever gotten,” Russo said. “It is a wonderful group of girls that work extremely hard and were underrated the whole season. The only teams they lost to, if you check the record, were really good basketball teams. I couldn’t be prouder of the group of girls. They gave everything they had and it was a fun ride. Good luck to PW.” 

Perkiomen Valley sisters Grace, left, and Emma Miley embrace as they walk off the court following Tuesday’s PIAA-quarterfinal loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh at Upper Dublin. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Plymouth Whitemarsh 56, Perkiomen Valley 31
Perkiomen Valley 6 12 6 7 – 31
Plymouth Whitemarsh 12 13 17 14 – 56
Perkiomen Valley: Bacani 1 0-0 2, Beattie 3 0-0 7, Smith 0 0-0 0, E Stein 0 0-0 0, L Stein 1 0-0 2, E Miley 5 0-0 10, G Miley 0 0-0 0, Boettinger 3 4-6 10. Total 13 4-6 31.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Flanagan 3 8-9 14, Daley 3 2-2 9, Sharpe 8 4-4 20, Allen 4 2-5 10, F Gooneratne 0 2-2 2, R Gooneratne 0 1-2 1, Balcer 0 0-0 0, Crumpton  0 0-0 0, Stripling 0 0-0 0, O’Hara 0 0-0 0, Minick-O’Donnell 0 0-0 0. Total 18 19-25 56.
3-point goals: PV: Beattie. PW: Daley.

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