Soud­er­ton shows iden­tity in sea­son-open­ing win

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­[email protected]­tu­ry­ @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

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.”

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