Reagan was commander in chief last Wednesday night at New Hope-Solebury.
Freshman Reagan Chrencik sank a 3-pointer in every quarter. Her 23 points led all scorers as New Hope topped Council Rock South 47-39.
Chrencik scored 24 in the Lions’ opening night win against SOL foe Hatboro-Horsham. “My teammates are great at talking with each other and picking each other up,” said Chrencik, who added eight rebounds and three blocks. “They are really helping me fit in.”
“I thought we played well in spurts,” assessed CR South coach Blair Klumpp. “Reagan made a lot of plays and some big shots. We tried to take Rachel (Saxton) away and we held her scoreless in the first half but Reagan stepped up. It’s tough to prepare to take two away, especially when both have versatile skill sets.
“New Hope made foul shots and big shots down the stretch,” Klumpp continued. “They kept us at arm’s length every time we made a run. Steve (Polinsky) and his girls deserve a lot of credit for that.”
Both sides hit seven threes. South’s Hannah Binder sank three triples and an 18-footer to match Chrencik’s sharpshooting. Binder’s 15 points and 13 rebounds led South.
“I thought (Binder) would break out a little bit today,” Klumpp shared. “She did a good job showing her versatility both on the perimeter and in the lane. Defensively, she was much more active on the glass tonight. She knows a lot of these girls from AAU and she might have come in with something to prove.”
The Lions led 13-10 after a back and forth first quarter and widened the halftime margin to 25-17. Chrencik and Juliana Covino assisted each other on three straight New Hope scores.
“We always work on our screens,” Chrencik explained. “J, Sabrina (Vlahovic) and I. When we get going and are using the screens right, the whole team is working together. We get open outside, kicking it out or getting it back down low.”
Threes from Nicole Blaustein and Carley Irvin cut the Lions’ lead to 25-23; Chrencik retorted with a three, sparking a 12-3 New Hope run.
South responded with a 9-0 run carrying into the fourth quarter, thanks to Binder’s trey and teardrop two.
Saxton sandwiched two jumpers around Chrencik’s three to ignite a 7-0 run and make the game 44-35 with 3:00 left. Saxton nailed three late free throws to cement the win.
“Our motto is ‘energy and effort,’” Saxton said. “Once one teammate gets going, they start getting everyone else going and we bring the intensity up.”
Blaustein scored nine and Jenna Culp added eight for the Golden Hawks. Saxton tallied nine points and Covina added seven for the Lions. New Hope’s Kate Dougherty hauled in eight rebounds to go with six points. Vlahovic grabbed six boards.
“Their basketball IQ is good and I have a couple of girls who can really shoot like Reagan and Rachel,” said first-year Lions coach Polinsky. “Some of the girls didn’t shoot that well tonight but I’m very blessed that I have five people I can rely on on the offensive end and be a threat.”
“As Coach says, we always have to talk and bring energy,” echoed Saxton. “A team isn’t built from just one player. Everyone contributes something special and it showed today.”
“The constant is defense,” Polinsky said. “Shots aren’t going to go in all of the time but be consistent in effort and on defense. They’ve embraced that. The chemistry is really good on this team and that has helped me as a new coach.”
South (3-3, 1-1 SOL National) opened their season 3-1. “We talked about getting back to what we did well in our first couple of games,” Klumpp explained. “If we get back to sharing and moving the ball offensively, you saw some of those results in the second half tonight. Defensively, we were more active with deflections and loose balls earlier in the year.”
New Hope (5-2, 3-0 Bicentennial), who is 2-2 against 5A or 6A schools, extended its win streak to four with Friday’s win over Plumstead Christian.
“We go into the game knowing we’re playing bigger schools but we have confidence that we can win,” Chrencik said. “These (wins) are a big deal.”
“Blair does a great job of coaching and I knew they were going to give it to us,” Polinsky concluded. “We’re going to be part of the SOL next year so this is a good game to see how we fare with them. I’m proud of my girls and I thought South played well as well.”