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New Hope roars into district final


The New Hope-Solebury Lions showed no signs of rust on Tuesday night.

New Hope finished .500 in the Suburban One League Freedom Division, not good enough to make the league playoffs, but good enough to be the second seed in the District One Class 3A playoffs.

The Lions were off for 13 days before hosting Morrisville in the district semifinals, but led wire to wire in a 50-30 victory over the Bulldogs.

“We were relaxed and came out strong,” said junior Emily Wilson.

That’s an understatement.

New Hope raced to a 16-2 lead less than halfway through the first quarter, and Morrisville coach Connor Collins called a timeout.

The break couldn’t stop the Lions, who extended the lead to 37-4 at halftime.

The 30-plus-point lead meant the clock ran throughout the third and fourth quarters.

During mercy rule play, to its credit, Morrisville played a strong second half, making the final score respectable.

New Hope was the clear favorite, having beaten Morrisville 44-21 in the second game of the season in a tournament championship game at Bristol. Still, the Lions were happy to welcome the Bulldogs to their gym.

“We were excited to play somebody,” said coach Steve Polinsky, referencing the nearly two-week layoff.

The victory sends New Hope (13-11) into the district final against top-seeded Renaissance Academy Charter, of Phoenixville, a 45-21 winner over Bristol. The final will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bensalem.

“We’re super excited,” said junior Izzy Elizondo. “It’s always fun to play at the Bensalem gym.”

Miyonna Lynch scored nine points for third-seeded Morrisville, which finished 8-12. The Bulldogs beat Bristol in the first round of the Bicentennial Athletic League playoffs before falling to eventual champion Renaissance in the quarterfinals.

New Hope also beat Morrisville – its former BAL rival – in last year’s district semifinals en route to the district title and a win in the PIAA playoffs.

Elizondo had a huge game on Tuesday. She made six 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points. Wilson totaled 13 points.

“They’ve been a really good duo,” Polinsky said.

Polinsky pointed to Wilson’s move from shooting guard to point guard as one reason the Lions have improved since dropping their first three SOL Freedom games.

“Over time, we’ve gotten better and better,” he said. “Right now, we’re hitting our stride a little.”

“We’re a lot more connected and ended the SOL season strong,” Elizondo said. “We’re growing as a team.”

Polinsky said senior Nina Meixler, who had seven points, has played a pivotal role defensively and contributes offensively. The coach also pointed to improvement from junior Ella Dudick.

In SOL play, New Hope faced tough teams such as Freedom champion Lower Moreland, along with Class 6A powers Upper Dublin and Abington from the Liberty Division and a good Bensalem team from the Patriot Division.

“It’s been a really fun season,” Wilson said. “Our consistency has been really good. All the games have been really close, and it’s been really cool to see that.”

The tough SOL schedule should help the Lions against Renaissance.

“We love playing good competition,” Polinsky said. “It will be a good challenge.”

On Saturday, one team will clinch a spot in the PIAA playoffs while the other will see its season end.

“There will be a lot of pressure on both teams,” Wilson said. “We’re really excited. I think it will be a good game.”

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