Pennridge’s and Palisades’ girls basketball teams both expect to be in the hunt for league and district playoffs in their respective leagues this winter.
They likely will take different paths to reach their preferred destinations.
Pennridge downed Palisades, 63-32, recently in the opening round of its Winter Tipoff Tournament. The Rams then defeated Southern Lehigh, 65-20, the following night to successfully kick start their season.
With four senior starters back, Pennridge head coach Mike Elton anticipates his team can take the next step past the second round of the District One Class 6A playoffs where its season ended last year.
Against Palisades, Pennridge jumped out to a 22-4 lead and took control the rest of the way. Senior Sophie Cweiber paced the Rams with 19 points apiece in both contests. Julia Kreider added 16 against Southern Lehigh.
The Rams were able to shut down Palisades post player Colonial League standout junior Trinity Williams, who was held to 10 points.
“It was a good start for us,” said Elton. “We’re in a tough conference and getting two wins early will help. We have a veteran team, and the girls looked pretty confident.
“We did a nice job on their big girl (Williams), and she is a nice player. Southern Lehigh is a rebuild, but they should have a good year.”
Elton will be looking to develop his team’s depth throughout the year. Freshman Katie Yoder already looms as a regular contributor.
“We are able to give a lot of our younger girls time in the tournament,” said Elton, who began his fourth year. “One of our main goals is working out our bench.
“We like the work ethic and attitude of our younger girls and we should be in good shape.”
Gregg Dietz takes over a Palisades program that just missed getting a district berth last season with an overall 10-12 mark.
Williams and fellow junior forward Sydney Odle continue to improve, and they will be an effective duo in the paint. Junior guard Olivia Marton already has been impressive in her first year at the point.
In the second game of the tournament, Williams had a game-high 22 points in leading the Pirates to a 59-39 victory over Harry S. Truman.
“Pennridge is a very good team, and we just didn’t have the horses to stay with them,” said Dietz. “We cut it to 11 and tried some zones.
“I was happy that we came back against Truman and had a nice win. We don’t tend to see those teams in our league and it was good for us.”
Juniors Alayna and Libby Stianson along with Lilia Meadows figure to be in the regular rotation for the Pirates, whose overall numbers are better than their seven-player roster last season.
Palisades began its Colonial League action this week with games against Palmerton, Moravian Academy and Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg, ending a stretch of five games in eight days. The Pirates dropped a 56-47 decision to Palmerton Monday.
“I was happy with our overall effort,” said Dietz. “After the tournament, we knew we had to adjust a bit.
“We’re a young team, but we’re getting better. We need to keep working and we’ll be OK.”