All season long, Pennridge girls basketball coach Mike Elton was concerned about getting some meaningful minutes for his younger players. With five senior starters, the development of a deep bench was a priority.
Recently, his worries were allayed.
Due to some injuries, Elton adjusted his lineup with an infusion of players who have helped the Rams continue ahead on their path to an 11-9 record and possibly a home district playoff game.
Senior point guard Corinn Mart is expected to return to the lineup by the start of the postseason.
“At one point, we had two starters out of our lineup,” Elton said. “It is always tough when you lose key players.
“The rest of the girls had to step up and take charge. We were encouraged by the play of our younger players that have made us a deeper team. We were a little cautious at the beginning of the season about getting our younger players some time.
“But we knew we had to get to that stage at some point, and the injuries forced that a little more.”
Freshmen Katie Yoder, Grace Rosica and Chelsea King along with sophomores Ryan Hodder and Emma Pyne have logged more minutes and have helped their team in the process.
Yoder has taken Mart’s spot in the lineup and the team rarely has missed a beat. Elton expected the transition to be a smooth one considering her recently graduated brother, Sean, is the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“Katie Yoder has done very well, and they all have,” added Elton. “Katie (Yoder) has taken it all in and has done what she needs to do.
“She was a little nervous when she made her first start, but she has handled it all. You can see where she has really learned the game and benefited from her older brothers.”
With two games remaining this week, the Rams are in the 18th spot of the District One Class 6A rankings.
Elton will look to his senior core of Sophie Cweiber, Jillian Coughlin, Evelyn Loughery and Julia Kreider for their leadership down the stretch along with his budding bench.
“We’d like to get a home playoff game and we still have a shot,” stated Elton. “Our seniors have picked it up, and they have come together more than they have in the past. If they were on the bench with an injury, they have seen the game in a different way. It has helped them a lot, and they have brought another level to the team.
“We always work with a team mentality in mind, and we truly have it this season.”