This season, Palisades and Quakertown’s girls basketball programs both will have a budding team filled with underclassmen who will be working to mature.
Yet, they could not finish on the same path.
In the season, non-league opener for both teams, host Palisades broke open a tight game with a 9-0 run late in the fourth quarter onward to a 37-24 victory Dec. 7.
The Pirates, coming off a 15-9 season and a district playoff appearance last year, will be counting on sophomore 6-1 center Trinity Williams, who was a force in the middle with a game-high 19 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks.
Williams had seven of her team’s nine points in its final spurt, including one 3-pointer. With only seven girls on the roster at this time, Williams sees her role expanding this season.
“We had a slow start, but we came out with more intensity in the third quarter,” said Williams. “I feel like I can have more of a presence on the team this year. We really work well as a team and we know how to rely on each other. We can work our way through this.”
Quakertown struggled to find its rhythm early, but the Panthers began to connect late in the second quarter with an 8-0 run in the final three minutes to take a 16-13 halftime lead.
However, the Panthers couldn’t maintain their momentum in the second half. They regained the lead at 20-18 on Kimmy Best’s jumper with 2:54 left in the third, but Palisades rallied with a 10-0 stanza in the final two minutes to take control of the game.
Best, one of two seniors on the roster, lead them with nine points and sophomore Kayla Horning added five points with eight rebounds. Quakertown had a 1-21 campaign last year.
“We’re a young team and we’re learning,” said Quakertown head coach Brittany Bamford. “We started hitting our shots in the second quarter and gained some confidence. The girls battled all the way through.
“Our game plan was to collapse on Williams and we stopped her at different times. We just have to be more consistent.”
Along with Williams, the Pirates received a solid effort from sophomore Olivia Marton at the point and fellow sophomore Sydney Odle up front.
Marton, who had a pair of 3-pointers, added 10 points, and Odle had four points, seven rebounds and three steals. Claire Olmstead, the lone senior on the team, had five rebounds.
“We’ll go as far as she goes,” said Palisades head coach Brandon Hibbler about Williams. “She can move well in the post, and she has a nice shot from the outside. She will be one of the top players in the (Colonial) league.
“We have a good ball handler in Marton and Odle does a number of things for us.”
Olmstead believes her team will mature throughout the season.
“I believe this team has a lot of potential for this year and the upcoming years,” said Olmstead. “Friday’s game showed we have a lot of mistakes to clean up, but there is a lot of talent to work with. I think by the end of the season that we will be a force to be reckoned with.”