Brown’s 30-point night powers Abington past PW
WHITEMARSH >> There’s something about playing Plymouth Whitemarsh that brings out the best in Kassondra Brown.
The Abington senior forward just seems to hit another level when she goes up against the Colonials, regardless of the year or who is on the opposing roster. With the Ghosts jumping to the SOL American conference this year, it meant Brown got two cracks against a team she’s done quite well against.
Brown got her first chance Friday night and made the most of it, pouring in 30 points with 13 rebounds and six steals as the Ghosts overcame a foul-plagued start to top the Colonials 63-40 at Gym West.
“The sight of our jersey to that kid is like a bull’s to a matador’s cape, her eyes just light up when she plays against us,” PW coach Dan Dougherty said. “We played her twice last year, she dominated us twice last year.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh, which lost for the first time this season, has two very good young post players in freshmen Lainey Allen and Jordyn Thomas. It wasn’t a matter of effort or will, as the two Colonials forwards battled Brown all night, it was more a case of experience and strength winning out.
Brown, who has signed with Rhode Island, was also consistent in scoring seven points in the first, second and third quarters before posting nine in the final frame to make sure her team didn’t have a second half letdown. After Abington was whistled for 10 fouls in the first half, the Ghosts had to change some things defensively and had their senior playing almost as a safety on defense, which allowed Brown to pick off several passes.
Given that there aren’t too many players around who measure up to Brown, getting to battle a couple of good post players only fired the senior up.
“I had to play strong, every game we play (PW), it’s been a good game and I knew they had some height this year, so it was going to be even harder,” Brown said. “I think I actually play better when I have that kind of competition, I had 30 tonight, so I wanted to impose myself on the inside and the outside.”
Dougherty said that the game tape from Friday would be invaluable for Allen and Thomas and also credited assistant coach Bridgette McKnight, herself a former Division I post player, for helping prepare the two freshmen. While the Colonials got off to a good start this season, they
hadn’t faced a test quite like the one Abington presented.
There’s no substitute for the real deal, as Brown proved.
“That team is going to be really good, they’re all underclassmen and they’re going to have to their day but I think this is, hopefully, our year,” Ghosts coach Dan Marsh said. “Those two freshmen are going to be really good, but they’re not ready for (Brown) yet, but I don’t think anyone is. I think she’s the best big in the state and one of the best players in the state, so it’s no disrespect to them, it’s just that Kassondra is on a different level right now.”
The Colonials knew Abington is an aggressive defensive team, so they used to their advantage by getting into the bonus with a minute left in the first quarter. Allen was especially good at getting herself to the foul line and PW managed the lead down to 22-14 in the second quarter before Brown helped Abington
out to a 29-16 halftime lead.
Regardless of whether or not she’s shooting well, Brown said she’s always going to ask for the ball because it helps open up her teammates for shots. Friday, she shot 13-of-21 from the floor but just as crucial, she didn’t do all her work right under the basket.
Once she had established herself down low, and with a couple teammates not shooting well, Brown stretched things out and knocked down a handful of jumpshots between 12-17 feet.
“I wanted to balance it out because I knew I wasn’t going to have it easy in the post,” Brown said. “Coming back from the holiday we had a couple bad practices, no one was really working hard, so we had to have a game like this to snap back.”
Allen had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Thomas had two points and five rebounds. After the game, Brown said she sees bright things ahead for both PW freshmen and even as Abington pulled away in
the second half, the PW coaches wanted them to keep battling the all-state senior.
“It’s important to keep their spirits up too. Kassondra wasn’t what she is now when she was a freshman, she had to go through these lumps and growing pains as well,” Dougherty said. “We told our two, ‘we’d love to see you grow into someone like that,’ it’s why we kept them on the floor and kept the experience going. There’s no rep like a game rep.
“She’s not only talented, but she has a motor that outdoes everybody else.”
Brown hit the 30-point mark on a power drive to the rim with about 1:15 left in the fourth quarter. The Ghosts, now 8-1, have another big test Saturday when they trek to Neshaminy for a nonleague game with their former SOL National rivals.
“If we play smart, we’re tough to beat,” Marsh said. “It’s when we get sped up and start to do things that aren’t within ourselves that we get ourselves in trouble. Defensive discipline was key in the second half, we approached it like a big
game and knew it was a big game coming in.”
PW also doesn’t have much time off, as the Colonials host Downingtown West on Saturday then have to prepare for their first meeting with Upper Dublin next Tuesday. Dougherty knew this would be a pivotal stretch for his young team – which started five freshmen and sophomores Friday.
“It’s a group of kids that works six days a week, they’re committed to a long-term goal of being very good,” Dougherty said. “The kids are very bought in, they don’t want to hear that we’ll be good in two years or three years. They want to be good this year and compete this year.”
Per Marsh, Abington’s nonleague game at Souderton that had been scheduled for Monday, Jan, 7 has been rescheduled to Jan. 31.