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Upper Moreland uses 1st-half run to roll past New Hope-Solebury for 6th straight win

Upper Moreland's EmmyFaith Wood (11) drives on the New Hope-Solebury defense during their game on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

UPPER MORELAND >> Holly Gohl admitted to being a bit tense prior to Upper Moreland hosting New Hope-Solebury Monday night in  a matchup between girls basketball teams that shared last season’s Suburban One League Freedom Division title.

“I was a little nervous before the game but as soon as the ball started and EmmyFaith (Wood) had a three from the start I felt my nerves went right away,” Gohl said. “And I felt we got this. We were prepared.”

Gohl made sure the Golden Bears had few worries, helping to put together an impressive scoring run that stretched through the first and second quarters. Upper Moreland posted 18 straight points to race out to a 27-8 lead, extended the margin to 22 at halftime and rolled to a 56-24 victory over the Lions.

“We just had some good looks, some good finishes, some good shots,” Gohl said. “And our defense, we had really good defense. Just we knew that they were good players and a good team, well coached, but we were prepared for all their plays and trying our best to stop their best players from getting the ball.”

Gohl recorded all 16 of her points in the first half – 10 coming during the 18-0 run – while Wood hit a trio of 3-pointers as she led all scorers with 22 points as the Golden Bears (6-1, 4-0 division) won their sixth straight.

“We were really, really waiting to play the game,” Upper Moreland coach Matt Carroll said. “We were supposed to play last week and it got shut down just because of how the world is at this point. And I know we were really amped up to play the game last week and then it got moved to today and so we had some girls who really, really get nervous and they’re just kind of pacing. It was just a different feel from them today.

“It was just one of those things we’ve had so much time to prepare, there’s no preparing anymore, we know what they do, they know the type of things they do, they know the plays they run, what their players do well, blah, blah, blah. But I felt like our girls were just really excited to just play a game of basketball.”

Monday’s contest was just the second for the Bears since beating Springfield-Montco Dec. 21, UM opening its January slate last Wednesday with a 56-15 road win against Cheltenham.

“In December we were shut down because of COVID,” Gohl said. “But as soon as we could we got right back in the gym and practices have been good, everyone’s staying as strong as we could during it mentally and physically.”

Upper Moreland’s Holly Gohl (24) surveys the court while New Hope-Solebury’s Reagan Chrencik defends during their game on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

Since falling at Bensalem in its season opener, Upper Moreland has rolled through its schedule, winning by an average of 26.7 points per game – the closest a 12-point victory at Academy of the New Church Dec. 11.

Upper Moreland has a pair of home crossover games against the SOL Liberty Division this week,  facing Wissahickon 7 p.m. Tuesday then taking on Upper Dublin 7 p.m. Friday.

“Coach keeps saying that everyone thinks of us as Upper Moreland, but we’re Upper Moreland now – we have our name, people should know who we are,” Gohl said. “We’re going to be ready for those teams and we’re going to try our best to keep up with everyone.”

Reagan Chrencik scored 10 points to lead New Hope-Solebury (4-4, 3-2), which lost its second straight after a four-game win streak. The Lions have road crossover contests against Plymouth Whitemarsh 7 p.m. Tuesday then Abington 7 p.m. Friday.

It was close through the first eight minutes Monday night. Emma Hurley’s putback gave Upper Moreland a 7-5 lead before a Gohl hit a turnaround from the right block to put the Bears up four. 

A Chrencik three-point play at 4:37 had New Hope-Solebury within 9-8 but the Lions’ next point would not come until more than 10 minutes later.

Wood sent a pass upcourt to Gohl for a layup while a Gohl free throw at 27.1 seconds gave the Golden Bears a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Hurley opened the second quarter with a three off a Wood assist while Gohl banked in a jumper from the lane for a 17-8 edge.

“One thing we talked about was just do all the little things,” Carroll said. “The angles when you come off a pick, when you roll to the basket. I think it was 9-8 at one point and then at halftime it was 33-11.”

Wood cut down the lane, scored and drew the foul at 5:46 – completing the three-point play to put Upper Moreland up 11. A Gohl banked-in triple from the right wing made it 23-8.

“My past games I haven’t been shooting very well,” Gohl said. “So I worked from the start, I tried to shoot and I hit one but not the others and from the post my coach has been saying I have to go stronger and harder to the basket to try to get fouls and it worked, I went harder and my shots fell.”

Baskets from Wood then Gohl extended the run to 18 before Chrencik’s 3-pointer with 2:18 left in the quarter. But the Bears collected the half’s last six points – four from Gohl – to outscore the Lions 21-3 in the period and hold a 33-11 lead at intermission.

“I felt like the game was neck and neck the whole time until halftime when coach was like we’re up however many we’re up,” Gohl said. “And then he was like ‘I don’t want to fall back cause we’re not done yet.’ So then we just had to keep pushing and make the lead as big as we could.”

Wood, who picked three fouls in the first half, started the third quarter with a 3-pointer and proceeded to carry the Bears’ offense after the break, scoring 14 of UM’s final 23 points.

“You could even see when she was off the court the difference in the team and the way they run the offense,” said Carroll of Wood. “So much attention has to be paid to her out on the basketball court it gets other people open. Where if you’re setting a pick for her, you’re going to be open cause your girl is going to help. And so much of the points we score are just because of things she has created.

“She’s awesome. She works so hard at it. I got here today at 3:15 and she was already here sweating.”

New Hope-Solebury cut the margin to 38-18 after Madi Fasti scored off a drive but that was as close as the Lions would get. Two Alyssa Wiley free throws at 1:30 then a Wood jumper had Upper Moreland up 42-18 entering the fourth.

Upper Moreland 56, New Hope-Solebury 24
New Hope-Solebury 8 3 7 6 – 24
Upper Moreland 12 21 9 14 – 56
New Hope-Solebury: Reagan Chrencik 2 5-7 10; Madi Fasti 1 1-2 3; Emma Ives 1 0-0 3; Nina Mixler 1 0-0 3; Emily Wilson 1 0-0 3; Grace Fitzgerald 1 0-2 2; Ella Dudeck 0 0-2 0; Totals 7 6-13 24.
Upper Moreland: EmmyFaith Wood 8 3-3 22; Holly Gohl 7 1-2 16; Emma Hurley 3 0-0 7; Marie Meyers 0 3-4 3; Kiera Coyle 0 2-2 2; Lilly Hansen 1 0-0 2; Mikel Lancit 1 0-0 2; Alyssa Wiley 0 2-2 2; Totals 20 11-13 56.
3-pointers: NHS-Chrencik, E. Ives, Wilson, Mixler.

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