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New Hope girls repeat as district champs


The New Hope-Solebury Lions weren’t fazed by Renaissance Academy Charter School’s gaudy record and top seeding.

Instead, the Lions were outstanding on both ends of the floor on Saturday as they walloped the Knights, 49-27, in the District One Class 3A girls basketball championship game at Harriton.

“We’re so happy with how we played,” said junior Isabella “Izzy” Elizondo. “Defensively and offensively, it’s the best it’s been.”

The game was for all the marbles, as only the district champion advanced to the PIAA playoffs.

While Renaissance, the undefeated Bicentennial Athletic League champion from Phoenixville, finished 21-5, New Hope (14-11) is preparing for states.

The Lions, who also won districts a year ago, will have a long layoff, as their first-round game isn’t until March 8.

“We’ll have a lot of practice and I’m sure we’ll do some fun stuff,” said junior Ella Dudick.

New Hope led the whole way on Saturday, dominating on the boards and forcing turnovers en route to a 10-0 lead. Renaissance, in just its third year in the PIAA, didn’t score till 1:30 remained in the first quarter.

A Dudick basket in the second quarter made it 17-2 before Renaissance went on a mini run.

But at the start of the third quarter, junior point guard Emily Wilson made a 3-pointer and Elizondo added a 3 and a basket, and the lead was up to 31-14, and stayed double digits the rest of the way.

“This was a really good win,” said coach Steve Polinsky. “We played really good defense in the first half. We were locked in.”

Elizondo matched her performance in last week’s semifinal rout of Morrisville: six 3-pointers and a game-high 24 points.

“She’s shooting it really well,” Polinsky said.

Wilson scored 12 points.

Dudick added eight points, all in the first half, and did a good job rebounding and playing interior defense.

“It’s such a good feeling to defend the title,” Dudick said. “We hustled, played our game and got the win. We’re so excited to go home and celebrate with the team.”

Like with the upcoming 32-team state tournament, New Hope had a 13-day layoff before districts, and the Lions don’t expect any rust.

In its opener, New Hope will face Mastery Charter North - Pickett, a Philadelphia Public League team and the third seed from District 12.

The Lions won last year’s state opener, then were eliminated by District Three power Lancaster Catholic in the round of 16.

With a victory next week, the Lions would probably again face a second-round test from Lancaster Catholic, which is ranked first in the state in 3A in at least one poll.

“We hope to get a first-round win, but you never know, every year is different,” Elizondo said.

Elizondo believes her team is good enough to make a run in states, having finished .500 against tough competition in the Suburban One League Freedom Division.

“As long as we play our game, I think we have a great chance,” she said.

Dudick is looking forward to states, even though it’s still more than a week away.

“We’ll definitely be prepared,” she said. “We’ve got to be ready and give it our all at game time.”

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