Knights lose by 1 in home opener against Bucks


Franky Walsh

FILE PHOTO: North Penn’s Caleigh Sperling fights for the ball against CB West’s Emily Spratt.

Towamencin- One single point was the difference for the Knights. The back and forth game did not end in a win for the young team, but they did show promise for the future.

On Tuesday night, the North Penn Girls Basketball Team (1-1) took on the Central Bucks West Bucks (1-0) at the Knights home court in an intense league game resulting in a 45-44 loss for the Knights. 

Both the Knights and the Bucks came out shooting hot early in the game. The Bucks took an early lead scoring four unanswered points, but it did not take long for the momentum to swing in favor of the Knights. Caleigh Sperling started the scoring off for the Knights, scoring 13 of her 15 points in the first half. Freshman Cameron Crowley and sophomore Kelly Donnelly used their range each sinking  a three extending the Knights’ lead. The strong defensive effort was led by Donnelly, who helped the Knights hold an 11-8 lead after the first quarter. 

“Sperling came out with complete confidence in her team. She came out and scored the ball in the first half, and Kelly Donnelly came out and played phenomenal defense, so that’s all we can ask”, first-year head coach Brianna Cullen said.

At the start of the second quarter, CB West took the lead scoring 6 points within the first 2 minutes. Though they could not call the lead theirs for long as Sperling went on to score 7 unanswered points giving North Penn the lead. West fought back for another lead change making the score 21-20 with 1 minute left in the first half. A good defensive front by North Penn allowed the Knights to steal the ball and leave junior captain Abby Plaugher open to score and take a 22-21 lead going into the break. 

The start of the second half seemed like it was going to be the same as the first with a back and forth 4 minutes, but West capitalized on lulls in the North Penn defense scoring 7 unanswered points with an impactful 3 pointer taking the lead further from the Knights’ reach  with teh Bucks holsing a 37-28 lead going into the fourth. 

Entering the fourth quarter, the Knights did not let the 9 point deficit affect them. Plaugher made 2 pivotal 3 pointers cutting the lead to 3 forcing West to call a timeout.

After the timeout, senior Emily Spratt of CB West answered Plaughers threes by making two of her own, increasing West’s lead to 9 with 3:42 remaining in the game. The West lead did not stay for long as Plaugher went on another run, scoring 7 points with rebounding help from sophomore Olivia Stone, cutting the deficit to  2 with 2 minutes left in the game.

“I think [Stone] did a really good job for us on the boards. She did a really good job keeping a Division l player (Spratt) off the boards,” Plaugher said. 

A trip to the line for Spratt led to another West point and possession off of an offensive rebound giving North Penn no choice but to foul to stop the clock sending West to the line for a 1 and 1. With a missed first shot, the Knights were able to gain possession and call a timeout. 

With 22.1 seconds left it was Knights ball, but they were unable to score the 3 they needed to take the lead and settled with a 2 and no time left for another opportunity. 

I think that it all comes down to experience. We played with them the whole game. Going from being 2-9 last year, it’s just going to go uphill from here. I don’t think anyone excepted us to only lose by one, and I think we can only go up from here

— Abby Plaugher, NP Junior

“I think that it all comes down to experience. We played with them the whole game. Going from being 2-9 last year, it’s just going to go uphill from here. I don’t think anyone excepted us to only lose by one, and I think we can only go up from here,” Plaugher explained. 

The Knights fought till the very end of the game scoring 16 points in the 4th quarter. 

“I think that there are things at the end of the game we need to learn, but as we grow more comfortable those will go together,” Plaugher said. 

With this being only their third game of the season and having a brand new coaching staff, the young Knights have a lot of room to grow and they believe they have the tools to be a real competitor this year. 

“We just need to grow more comfortable playing with each other,” Crowley added. 

“I think that we are slowly coming together. It is a young team and we made mistakes, but if we keep playing like this we are going to have a very successful season,” Cullen noted.

“Inexperience and youth can lead to lack of composure, so I think if we learn to keep our heads in tough times, it going to all come together”. 

The Knights look to bounce back on Friday at home against the Pennridge Rams at 7pm.