Hewlett helps NP pull away from East
Junior’s 15 points lead Knights past CB East
TOWAMENCIN >> A sluggish start by the North Penn girls basketball team Friday night could be traced back to a cold bug hitting the Knights this week.
“Jess (Huber) missed the last two days of school. She came in today and Sam (Carangi) she missed yesterday and she came in today as well,” North Penn coach Maggie de Marteleire said. “So I think it was the first time in four years the two of them haven’t been at practice.”
The Knights however, were a little more sick and tired of dropping games at home to Central Bucks sides.
After taking a one-point lead into halftime against visiting Central Bucks East, North Penn came out firing from long distance. North Penn knocked down four 3-pointers during a 14-2 run to start the third quarter and pulled away from the cold-shooting Patriots for a 43-29 Suburban One League Continental Conference victory.
“We just wanted to cut down on our turnovers, we were playing good defense. So we wanted to keep that up and make even better decisions on offense, North Penn’s Bri Hewlett said. “And I think we just started knocking down shots in the second half.
Hewlett had nine of the Knights 18 points in the third and finished with a teamhigh 15 points as North Penn (9-2, 4-2 conference) won its third straight.
“My teammates were just finding me and I was getting open shots. I was kind of just the luck of the draw, whatever. I was open,” Hewlett said.
Irisa Ye added 10 points for NP, who held an opponent under 30 points for the second straight game and for the fifth time this season.
“I thought they did a really nice job digging down and just persevering,” deMarteleire said. “First half I think we were giving up transition buckets which we don’t normally do. And East took advantage of it, they finished and they ran the floor well.
“I thought we did a better job in the second half, defensively I thought we did a really nice job. Bri did a great job on Bridget Birkhead. I thought she did a really nice job on her.”
Birkhead had a game-high 17 points — 11 in the first half — for the Patriots (6-5, 3-3), who had just two field goals and 10 points after halftime as NP snapped their fivegame win streak.
CB East visits Council Rock North 3 p.m. Saturday in the SOL Challenge. North Penn plays in the Maggie Lucas Classic at Philadelphia University Sunday, taking on Episcopal Academy.
Up 20-19 at halftime, Huber and Hewlett opened the third quarter with back-toback threes. Bri Talbot rebounded her own miss to score and get East within 2621, but Ye responded with a triple for an eight-point North Penn edge.
Jess McKenzie found Hewlett for a basket with a Carangi three putting the Knights up 34-21.
“It was nice in the third quarter that we had several different people hit threes to kind of open up the game,” deMarteleire said. “Obviously you’re not ever going to consistently hit threes but we can shoot better than what we’ve been shooting overall. So that would be nice if we can start to get going from that.
Birkhead made two free throws at 1:41 then hit a corner three, cutting the margin to 34-26, but Hewlett scored four of the quarter’s last five points – Huber finding her inside just before the buzzer for a 38-27 advantage.
“She rebounds and she plays defense. She doesn’t take a second off,” deMarteleire said of Hewlett.
The teams combined for just seven points in the fourth as East could not mount a comeback and North Penn was content with running the clock. The Knights’ lead grew to as large as 16 after a Carley Adams basket made it 43-27.
North Penn had gone 0-2 in its first matchups with Central Bucks schools on its home floor – falling to West 46-43 Dec. 16 and South 48-34 Jan. 5 – and early on Friday, CB East looked set on continuing the trend.
After a Ye step-back jumper pulled North Penn to within 11-8 in the opening quarter, Birkhead scored three straight points – her jumper off a turnover giving East a 14-8 edge at the end of eight minutes.
But the Knights reined in their turnovers and the Patriots could not get a shot to drop in the second quarter.
A Bri Hewlett bucket gave NP a 15-14 lead before Birkhead scored inside to put East back up a point. Hewlett answered with a jumper while a Huber trey made it 20-16 Knights. Birkhead drained a deep three to get East within 20-19 at the half. North Penn 43, CB East 29
North Penn’s Jess McKenzie get tripped up trying to get around Central Bucks East’s Bridget Birkhead Friday night.