Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Talent, teams continued to shine in most unusual season

- By Andrew Robinson arobinson@21st-centurymed­ia.com

A season unlike any other tested players on and off the court in ways they could not have expected.

There were no games in December, no holiday tournament­s or day-long showcase events, most teams were limited to league-only schedules, fan attendance was limited or not allowed at all and there was a constant specter of everything ending without warning. On the court, players had to wear masks and endured a lot of games compressed into a short schedule.

Despite all these challenges and others, the players, coaches and teams of the area showed their resilience and adaptabili­ty.

Team accomplish­ments and standout individual efforts rose above in 2021. Archbishop Wood returned to the top, capturing its first PCL title since 2016 and its first state title since 2017 with a win in the PIAA Class 4A title game.

Three teams saw their run of district titles continue, but for one, it was the also the end of the line. Gwynedd Mercy Academy, the regular season AACA champion, lifted the District 1-4A title for a fourth straight year before ending the season against Wood in the PIAA quarterfin­als.

Jenkintown, which graduates a senior class that went 107-5 in four years, made its second PIAA Class A final in four years, falling to Bishop Guilfoyle. Before that, the Drakes won their sixth straight District 1 title and coach Jim Romano his 700th game.

St. Basil Academy won the AACA tournament for the fifth straight year and extended its District 1-3A run to the same number. Unfortunat­ely with the school closing at the end of the academic year, the Panthers won’t be able to defend either title next winter.

Plymouth Whitemarsh won the SOL Liberty title and finished second in District 1-6A, a state playoff contender in any other season. Upper Moreland continued its build with a share of the SOL Freedom title, a home playoff game and District 1-5A semifinal bid.

As with most years, the area will bid farewell to a very deep and talented senior class that this year includes several record-setting athletes. Other teams saw a lot of promise from their underclass­men and set the table for what all hope is a more normal season in 2021-22.

Here are the 2021 The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media All-Area Girls’ Basketball Teams.

First Team

KAITLYN ORIHEL, SR, ARCHBISHOP WOOD >> The area Player of the Year for a second straight season, Orihel finished her Vikings career in championsh­ip style. A four time First Team AllPCL pick, Orihel leaves as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,462 career points. Wood won the PCL title for the first time since 2016 and its first title since 2017 as Orihel delivered 25 points in the PIAA title game. RYANNE ALLEN, JR, ARCHBISHOP WOOD >> The 6-foot-1 junior was the top scorer for the PCL and PIAA champion Vikings at 16.5 ppg. A dead-eye shooter, Allen also showed an improving interior game as she earned First Team All-PCL honors. Her 22 points in the PCL final led all scorers and helped the Vikings lift the title for the first time in six years. Allen scored double-figures in every postseason game Wood played this winter.

ANNA MCTAMNEY, SR, PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH >> A presence in the Colonials lineup the last four years, McTamney was again consistent­ly good for the SOL Liberty champion and District 1-6A runner-up. McTamney averaged 13.1 ppg to lead the Colonials and her 1,127 career points are ninth in program history. A USciences recruit, McTamney also averaged 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game as a two-way standout and first team All-SOL Liberty selection.

DENAE CARTER, SR, ST. BASIL ACADEMY >> St. Basil’s final season saw Carter go out strong. The first team All-AACA selection posted 21 ppg and 12 rebounds per game as the Panthers won their fifth straight AACA tournament and District 1-3A titles. A Mississipp­i State recruit, Carter ends her career as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,304 points.

KAYLIE GRIFFIN, SR, GWYNEDD MERCY ACADEMY >> The AACA MVP was the engine driving the Monarchs to regular season league and District 1-4A titles. Griffin, heading to St. Joe’s, averaged 15.3 ppg that included 40 made 3-pointers. With 1,076 career points, she was just the third player to surpass 1,000 at GMA, won a district title all four years with the program and helped the Monarchs to the PIAA quarterfin­als.

Second Team

Jess Polin, Sr, Upper Dublin

Grace Niekelski, Sr, Mount Saint Joseph Academy

Emily Spratt, Jr, CB West

Carly Mulvaney, Sr, Jenkintown Nicole Timko, Jr, Methacton

Bri Bowen, Jr, Archbishop Wood

Third Team

Katilyn Flanagan, Jr, Plymouth Whitemarsh

Gabby Casey, So, Lansdale Catholic Cire Worley, So, Abington

Grace O’Neill, Jr, Archbishop Carroll Dayna Balasa, Sr, Upper Dublin Sofia Coleman, Jr, Gwynedd Mercy Academy

Honorable Mention

Khalis Whiting, Jr, Abington

Ty’Lah Washington, So, Abington Friends School

Zaniyyah Ross-Barnes, Sr, Abington Friends School

Noelle Baxter, Sr, Archbishop Wood Dana Kiefer, Sr, Archbishop Wood Paige Gilbert, Sr, CB West

Sydney Heller, Faith Christian Academy Jessica Moore, Sr, Germantown Academy Alice Hall, Jr, Hatboro-Horsham Molly Walsh, Sr, Jenkintown

Katie McGrath, Jr, Jenkintown

Mairi Smith, So, Methacton Georgia Pickett, So, Mount Saint Joseph Academy

Alli Lindsay, Sr, North Penn

Katie Yoder, So, Penridge

Erin Daley, So, Plymouth Whitemarsh Casey Harter, So, Souderton

Tori Nigro, Jr, St Basil Academy

Amy Ngo, Fr, Upper Dublin EmmyFaith Wood, So, Upper Moreland Kaitlyn McGeary, So, Wissahicko­n

 ?? MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO ?? Abington’s Maura Day (23) tries to advance the ball while PW’s Gabby Cooper and Anna McTamney (32) pursue on Saturday.
MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO Abington’s Maura Day (23) tries to advance the ball while PW’s Gabby Cooper and Anna McTamney (32) pursue on Saturday.

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