Souderton shows identity in season-opening win
New look, same result for Souderton.
The Souderton girls’ basketball team may have graduated four of its top eight players from last year, but the Indians evoked plenty of flashbacks. Whether it was a string of quick passes, hands in the way defensively
or grappling for a rebound, the habits of the past few years were still front and center
Souderton’s big early run gave the hosts all the cushion they needed as the Indians opened their season with a 52-13 win over Saint Hubert in the first round of the Jim Church Classic on Friday night.
“They want to build on our reputation of great defense and unselfish play on the offensive end and it’s who they are to the core,” Souderton coach Lynn Carroll said. “It’s so nice to get that first win out of the way.
“I think when I watch this game on tape, it will feel a little bit like last year.”
After a turnover by Souderton, Saint Hubert’s Sarah Hartigan put the Bambies up 2-0 to start the game. Megan Walbrandt scored on a drive to tie it up and from there, it was all Indians. Bealer knocked down a pair of freebies, Curran O’Donnell hit a three and Olivia Schneider scored on a layup to
put Soudy up 9-2.
Bealer then closed out the frame with emphasis, bookending a putback layup with a pair of 3-pointers for a 10-point opening frame that also included an assist and two steals. She assisted Curran O’Donnell to open the second and when Mikaela Reese split a pair of free throws, it made a 20-0 run for the Indians.
Although Souderton, the defending SOL Continental, SOL tournament and District 1-6A champions lost four seniors, all playing in college, they have a good deal of experience back. Bealer and Walbrandt were both starters all of last year, Megan O’Donnell was a key reserve and Curran O’Donnell and Erica Stephens played off the bench.
Schneider, a sophomore, wasn’t at Souderton last year but she also brings experience after transferring from Lansdale Catholic where she got plenty of minutes as a freshman.
“The way we played the last two years, it’s so much fun,” Carroll said. “It’s fun for us to watch and it’s fun for them to play that way. Even though we have new faces in the starting lineup, these are girls who have been around as role players and waiting in the wings. Now it’s their turn and I’m really excited for them.”
Bealer ended the night with 16 points, nine rebounds, an assist and two steals. Walbrandt had a solid all-around game and had a particularly good third quarter on her way to nine points, two rebounds, five assists and two steals.
In the third, Walbrandt scored five and had three of her assists, two of them coming via terrific passes into the post leading to Curran O’Donnell buckets.
“It’s nice when you have kids who make you look like you’re doing a good job,” Carroll said. “Our five starters play AAU together, they’ve played together a long time and it looked like it.”
Carroll said her team did settle for a couple rushed transition 3-pointers in the first half, so they came to an understanding that every shot in the second half would be one every could agree was a good shot.
Souderton, which has won the Jim Church Classic the last two years, will try to make it a three-peat in a rematch of last year’s final at 3 pm Saturday. The Indians will face St Basil Academy, which looked very strong in a 47-36 win over Abington Heights.
“It’s rare to have this many new faces in a lineup and to be as far ahead as I feel like we are right now,” Carroll said. “That said, we still have to get better. Tomorrow is going to be a really good test for us. I’m happy with how we started, but we have to keep building on what we worked on these last few months here.”