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Girls basketball: Plumstead Christian seniors have sights set on districts


Winless in their freshman year and with just 10 wins – total – in their next two campaigns for Plumstead Christian, the players who make up the senior class of this Panthers team is elated with their prospects in their final season for the Red, White and Black.

After emerging triumphant in three of its last four matchups, Plumstead has seven wins in its possession and is 5-4, in third place in the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL). The team’s biggest victory to date is perhaps its Jan. 17 win at home over BAL foe Faith Christian.

“It was huge,” stated senior co-captain Erin Haines. “Our freshman year, we didn’t win any games and Faith has always been our biggest rival in every sport.”

Making victory that much sweeter was the fact the girls had to come back from a deficit to win the game in the second half after trailing by as many as 15 points early on and by six at the intermission.

Helping to seal the victory late in the game was junior Olivia Mott, who canned a pair of free throws to put the Panthers up by four points in the final moments. The 62-58 triumph stands in stark contrast to freshman year, the girls say, when they routinely suffered double-digit losses.

“It was difficult for us to beat anyone in previous years; we weren’t that great,” admitted Haines.

“We would travel over an hour to go play basketball and lose by 50 points; it was the worst feeling. Some of the teams had no mercy whatsoever,” added classmate Chloe Kent.

Leading the way to victory over Faith was junior Caroline Taylor, who contributed 20 points while adding 13 rebounds and six assists. Mott chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds. Kent came through with 10 points and seven boards while Haines added four points and seven caroms.

Ironically, Plumstead didn’t get off to such a hot start this season, dropping its first four matchups. Three of the four losses were by five points or less. Lessons were learned, however, from those early losses and the Panthers used that knowledge to its advantage in the win over Faith.

“We, first, had to learn how to be in those types of games in order to win those types of games,” said head coach Steve Haines.

“We had been in close games all season; we just couldn’t close them out.

“This time, we closed it out.”

It hasn’t been all roses for the Panthers this season. After a 54-38 victory Jan. 22 at Bristol, the girls came home Jan. 24 only to suffer a double-digit loss to Class 4A rival Lower Moreland.

Leading 11-4 after the initial frame, the Lions poured it on strong with 10 field goals in the second period to go into the locker room holding a 35-15 edge. Lower Moreland junior Ceili Courduff helped the visitors with four 3-pointers before the halftime buzzer while classmate Riley Malone hit three more treys in the game.

“They came out really strong and hit a lot of really big shots,” explained Erin Haines. “And we’re not outside shooters at all.

“We had really good defense the whole game and we took away some shots and got some steals.

“But we can’t shoot outside threes so it’s kind of hard to compete with girls who are good at that.”

Plumstead rebounded with a double-digit win of its own Jan. 26 at Lincoln Leadership Academy. Kent led the way to a 49-34 triumph with Taylor coming through with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Mott chipped in with eight points and 16 boards while sophomore Anya Link stepped up with eight points of her own. In the crucial win over Faith, the lanky 10th-grader came through with seven points and five assists.

“She’s doing really well,” stated Haines.

“She played last year but she’s really stepped it up this season,” added Kent.

With a little more than 86 power points in the District One Class A rankings, Plumstead has a shot at making districts this season. With only a few games left on their schedule, the girls are currently in sixth place in a bracket that takes just six teams to the postseason. The good news is the Panthers have a chance to make some headway on seventh-place Morrisville when the teams square off Feb. 5 on the Bulldogs’ home court.

While Kent, Haines and Mott have been playing hoops together since sixth grade, they say this year is different. For one, Plumstead played fall ball in the Johnny Walker League in preparation for this season.

“Knowing it’s my last year, it gets a little sentimental,” explained Kent.

“That kind of makes me want to work harder because I know this is going to be my last chance to play with my team at this school (and that) is a big motivation.”

Obtaining a District One berth would be a significant accomplishment, she says.

“It’s huge, for us, especially for such a small school,” said Kent. “We have a lot of people and friends who want to come out and support us.

“That would be such a huge accomplishment for us.

“We have just 30 girls in the high school, compared to schools that have 200 or 300 students to choose from.

“If we make it and we do something like that, it’s huge for everyone.”

Kent said, last year, the girls came out in support of the boys team when they earned a No. 3 seed in districts and a berth in states with a 58-50 triumph over Phil-Mont Christian. That team went on to a pair of wins in the PIAA tournament, earning a berth in the Class A quarterfinals.

The girls are hoping to catch some of that lightning in a bottle this postseason.

@stevesherman222 on Twitter

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