Knights fall just short in battle with Patriots

The+Knights+gather+for+a+timeout+as+they+head+down+the+stretch+of+their+December+6th+game+vs+Germantown+Academy.+

Jessica Wendowski

The Knights gather for a timeout as they head down the stretch of their December 6th game vs Germantown Academy.

TOWAMENCIN – The North Penn Girls Basketball home opener was filled with suspense and intensity as it all came down to the last minute. 

Tuesday night, the Knights Girls Basketball team (1-2) played a closely matched game against the Germantown Academy Patriots (2-1) but fell just short of a win with a 60-57 loss.. 

Only five seconds into the start of the game, the Patriots scored their first two-pointer of the night. The Knights quickly answered after scoring two clean three-pointers within 20 seconds of each other from senior Abby Plaugher and junior Caleigh Sperling. Throughout the next three minutes, the Patriots managed to put five more points on the board until junior Liv Stone interrupted that streak with a two-point basket for the Knights.

“That was probably one of the most high-intensity teams we will play all season so if we can keep up with them now, it will be really good for us for the reason of the year,” Sperling emphasized.

Plaugher finished out the quarter for the Knights by scoring another flawless three-pointer and the Patriots added another two points to the board with only 42 seconds left. The quarter ended with the Patriots up four points and a score of 15-11. 

“I think our communication has improved. Overall we played together and I think the people who have strengths in their positions, they stepped up big and did what they are supposed to do,” Knights head Coach Bri Cullen stated.

The second quarter started out with the ball in the Patriot’s possession. Giving them the opportunity, the Patriots added another two points to the board after making two free throws due to a foul from the Knights. Once the ball was back in the Knights’ possession, the natural passing dynamic between sophomore Cam Crowley and Sperling left Sperling wide open for another three-pointer.

The score continued to go back and forth throughout the quarter but ended with the Patriots leading 34-28. Contributing to the Knights’ scoring was Stone for six points, both Plaugher and senior Emily Orth for three points, and finally Sperling for two points.

“I do want to give a shoutout to Liv Stone. She wasn’t here last weekend, she had another conflict before the game so she stepped in and had a big assignment and really handled it well,” Cullen said.

Coming back from halftime, both teams played with high energy knowing this was going to be a close game. The Patriots started up the quarter with a layup off their own rebound, which was quickly answered as Plaugher made yet another three for the Knights. 

Within the next few minutes, the Patriots continued to make their shots adding up to another seven points. The Knights’ offense started to execute their shots with another three-pointer from Plaugher and a two-pointer from both Sperling and Stone. 

In the last two minutes of the quarter, Plaugher was able to put up another five points as well as two points from Crowley.

We’ve seen close games, especially this group. They saw a ton of close games last year. There were moments in the second quarter and moments in the third quarter that we kind of lost a little bit of our focus which took away from the overall game, but I always tell them it doesn’t come down to one player or one moment, it comes down to playing as a team”

— Bri Cullen - NPHS Head Coach

“We’ve seen close games, especially this group. They saw a ton of close games last year. There were moments in the second quarter and moments in the third quarter that we kind of lost a little bit of our focus which took away from the overall game, but I always tell them it doesn’t come down to one player or one moment, it comes down to playing as a team,” Cullen stated.

As the buzzer went off to end the third quarter, the Knights were only one point short of the Patriots. Leading up to the fourth and final quarter with a score of 46-45, the intensity from both teams picked up with only eight minutes left to pull ahead and secure a win.

“Obviously we just needed to stay calm. We played with each other last year so we kind of knew how each other plays and we knew we needed to take the right shots and not force anything, but all together we just knew we needed to stay calm,” Plaugher explained. 

Within the first two minutes, the Patriots had already gained a seven-point lead. The Patriots gave the Knights an opportunity as Sperling was fouled twice and given four free throws. Making one after the other, Sperling added on a quick four points for the Knights, hoping to close the point gap.

 “Caleigh really had an overall game as well,” Cullen stated.

Stone followed up by making a two-point basket, then right after assisting Sperling on a two-pointer.

As the Patriots tried to run down the clock by passing around the Knight’s defense, the Knights fouled the offense to get the ball back in their possession. After the Patriots made both free throws, the Knights rushed the ball down the court with one minute left. The back and forth continued all the way into the last minute of the game as Plaugher scored a two-pointer, followed by a Patriot two-points, then back again with a three-pointer from Sperling for the Knights. 

The game ended with the ball in the Patriot’s possession after a turnover from the Knights.

They are probably one of the best teams we will play all year and we know moving forward if we continue to play like that, we will make it really far with playoffs”

— Abby Plaugher -NPHS Senior

“Personally I thought we did well and I think we all played really well. They are probably one of the best teams we will play all year and we know moving forward if we continue to play like that, we will make it really far with playoffs,” Plaugher emphasized.

The Knights play this Friday at home against the Pennridge Rams at 7.

“I think we have a ton of talent and a ton of hard-working players so really taking our lessons in and watching the film, breaking down where we made miscommunications and made our mistakes, we will learn from it and use it in our next game plan,” Cullen explained.