Growing Pains

CB West edges Knights in back and forth battle on senior night


Colin Davis

Close but just short… The NP girls basketball team battled hard all night but fell just short to CB West on Friday, January 29, 2021.

TOWAMENCIN – 3.5 seconds left on the clock. North Penn ball and down by 2. Senior Ali Lindsay gets the ball, takes a dribble and shoots… oh how every little inch maters. 

 Just long off the rim, the ball bounced to the hardwood and the final seconds ticked off the clock as North Penn fell to Central Bucks West 40-38. Katie Finnan led the way for the Bucks with 15 points as Caleigh Sperling had 10 of her own.

The game tipped off following the Knights honoring senior players, Laynie Doran, Ali Lindsay, and Rachel Strobel. All players were multiple year letter winners as they progress through the senior season in what is far from a normal winter of high school hoops. 

The first quarter was an explosive one for both sides with the Bucks starting out on a 8-0 run in the first 3 minutes, including a three by Finnan. Strobel scored the first points for the Knights with 3:45 left in the quarter. With the score 13-4 in favor of West, the Knights flipped a switch. Going on a 9-2 run of their own, sparked by buckets from Sperling and Abby Plaugher, the Knights cut the deficit to just 2 heading into the second quarter. 

North Penn’s Olivia Stone looks for an open teammate in the Knights’ battle with CB West, (Colin Davis)

Another bucket by Plaugher opened up scoring in the second quarter to tie the game. After NP Junior Imani Plaza split a pair at the line, West’s Finnan answered with a 3 from deep to extend the CB lead to 20-16. But defense prevailed for both sides as each team went multiple possessions without a turnover or missed field goal. After a North Penn timeout, Olivia Stone hit a 3 to put the Knights up 26-23 as the lead changed hands once again. On the ensuing Bucks possession, Emily Spratt was fouled and converted both her free throws making the score 26-25, Knights, heading into the break. 

Coming out of halftime, both teams were able to contain the others offense very well, which was a point of emphasis during halftime. 

“I mean [Finnan] hit shot after shot, “ North Penn  coach Jen Carangi said. “At what point are we going to go out and guard somebody, so I wanted to make that adjustment. She didn’t really make another shot in the second half.” 

After a scoreless 2 minutes to open up the quarter, Paige Gilbert took the lid off the bucket for West with a putback layup. After more great defense that was forcing turnovers and contested shots, Lindsay was sent to the line where she split a pair of free throws. A Sperling layup was answered by a Spratt layup to tie up the game 29-29 heading to the 4th quarter. 

“We knew certain things we were going to see,” CB West coach Terry Rakowsky said. “They say take what the defense is giving you, but they are giving it to us for a reason. So we just wanted to put the girls in a position to capitalize.”

Doran got the first points of the final quarter for the Knights. After trading buckets, free throws by Strobel put the Knights up 35-31. A steal and bucket by Finnan was able to cut the lead to 2. A three by Stone put the Knights up by 5 with 3:30 remaining. Another Finnan three, cut the West deficit to only 2. An And-1 with under two to go by Erin Mcllhinney put the Bucks ahead by 1. A foul put the Bucks in the bonus and sent Finnan to the line where she missed the free throw. The Knights drove down and a look by Plaza was just long. Another trip to the line for Finnan followed where she split the free throws making the score 40-38. A North Penn timeout with 3.5 to go set up the final look for Lindsay which was just long, giving the Bucks the win. 

“We’re just young and we don’t know how to win yet,’” Carangi lamented. “We were able to stop them, but it’s something you can’t really teach; you just learn from playing in games like this.” 

The Knights look to bounce back against Pennridge on Tuesday, and the Bucks take on Upper Dublin on Saturday. 

North Penn senior Ali Lindsay makes her way down court on the Knights’2021 senior night matchup with CB West. (Colin Davis)