TOWAMENCIN — The North Penn girls basketball team's plan to slow down Pennsbury's Sajanna Bethea was two-fold according to Bri Cullen.
"Face guard,' the senior Maiden said. "And don't let her get the ball.'
Cullen and freshman Irisa Ye were able to put the plan into action, keeping the St. Peter's commit to 11 points — including just one in the second half.
Cullen, meanwhile, was one of three North Penn players who scored in double-figures as the Maidens cruised to a 52-34 win in the nightcap of the Third Annual Lady Knights Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament Friday night.
"We knew about Bethea — she's a very, very good player. And she made some phenomenal shots in the first quarter, I was like '˜Oh boy.' And we game-planned for her,' North Penn coach Maggie deMarteleire said. "I thought as the game went on, our defense got better and better. And our rebounding was outstanding as well.
Vicky Tumasz had a game-high 14 points, while Ye chipped in 10 points in her first varsity game for the Maidens (1-0), who will face Gwynedd Mercy in the championship game 2:30 p.m. Saturday at North Penn.
Erin Maher collected 13 rebounds, while Tumasz had seven boards.
In the tournament's opener, GMA pulled away from Perkiomen Valley for a 53-41 victory, outscoring the Vikings 23-7 in the fourth quarter in Tom Lonergan's first game as coach of the Monarchs (1-0).
Brigit Coleman led all scorers with 20 points, while Erica DiCandido added 12 points — 10 coming after halftime.
"We were very excited to come out and play as well as we did. We were missing a couple players, one of them (Emily Sullivan), our starting two-guards wasn't here tonight,' Lonergan said. "We had players like Jess Campbell, who started in her place, come up big for us in that second quarter when we seemed to be struggling.'
Katherine Armstrong had 13 points with Jules Hoisington and Caitlyn Byrne each scoring 11 points for Perk Valley (0-1), which takes on Pennsbury (0-1) in the consolation game at 1 p.m.
Kaitlin Kelly had 10 points for the Falcons, who led North Penn 14-13 early in the second quarter before the Maidens used a 10-0 run to go up 23-14 after Maher hit both ends of a one-and-one at 4:35.
Pennsbury was within six at halftime, but North Penn pushed its advantage to 39-26 in the third before a late bucket from Sarah McDonald made the margin 11 entering the fourth.
"I think we played really well, to come out for the first time, especially with three freshman,' Cullen said. "It was new as a team, but I think we played amazing for how we came out.'
Two Ye free throws and a Sam Carangi 3-pointer to start the final quarter had NP up 44-28. North Penn's lead grew as large as 21 at 52-31.
Gwynedd Mercy's full-court defense eventually wore down Perkiomen Valley in the fourth. The Monarchs begin the quarter down 34-40, but took the lead for good at 37-36 when Coleman drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.
A Maggie Cameron jumper just above the foul line had GMA ahead 40-36 before a Hoisington made it a two-point game. But Gwynedd Mercy collected the next eight points — Coleman's two free throws with 1:59 remaining giving the Monarchs a 48-38 lead.
"What we're going through right now is growing pains,' Lonergan said. "We know, the team knows that we're going to be really tough to play in January, because give us a couple months together and that's what we're looking forward to. From now until then, we're going to keep working hard and see what happens. And that's why it was nice tonight to see us be able to have such a dominating fourth quarter.'
Perkiomen Valley led 16-9 in the second quarter before an 11-2 GMA run put the Monarchs up 20-18 after Dia Veneziano connected on both ends of a one-and-one with 1:42 left at the half. The Vikings went back ahead 22-20 before a Campbell basket had the teams even at intermission.
Gwynedd Mercy 53, Perkiomen Valley 41
Gwynedd Mercy 7 15 8 23 — 53
Perkiomen Valley 11 11 12 7 — 41
Gwynedd Mercy: Brigit Coleman 5 7-8 20 Erica DiCandido 3 6-10 12 Jess Campbell 3 2-2 8 Christa Giordano 0 5-6 5 Maggie Cameron 2 0-0 4 Dia Veneziano 1 2-2 4 Totals 14 22-28 53.
Perkiomen Valley: Katherine Armstrong 5 2-2 13 Jules Hoisington 4 2-2 11 Caitlyn Byrne 4 1-1 11 Anamarie Bruni 1 1-2 3 Kelly O'Brien 0 2-2 2 Kelsey Geise 0 1-2 1 Totals 14 9-11 41
Three-pointers: GMA-Coleman 3; PV: Byrne 2, Armstrong, Hoisington.
North Penn 52, Pennsbury 34
Pennsbury 11 10 7 6 — 34
North Penn 11 16 12 13 — 52
Pennsbury: Sajanna Bethea 4 1-2 11 Kaitlin Kelly 3 2-2 10 Sarah McDonald 2 1-2 5 Tara Israel 1 0-0 3 Emily Maggie Kane 1 0-0 3 Sarah Alturuse 1 0-2 2 Edwards 0-2 0 Totals 12 4-10 34.
North Penn: Vicky Tumasz 5 2-2 14 Bri Cullen 3 5-6 12 Irisa Ye 4 2-4 10 Sam Carangi 4 0-1 9 Mikaela Giuliani 1 3-6 5 Erin Maher 0 2-2 2 Totals 17 14-20 52.
Three-pointers: P-Bethea 2, Kelly 2, Israel, Kane; NP: Tumasz 2, Carnagi, Cullen.
Follow Mike Cabrey on Twitter @mpcabrey.