Last year, Pennridge girls' basketball started its game against Christopher Dock trailing 13-0. They weren't going to let that happen again this year.
Instead, the Lady Rams came out swinging, locking down a comfortable 16-8 lead against Dock in the first quarter, fueled by three-pointers from Alex Villella and Ashley George.
In fact, George's presence on the court in general put fuel in Pennridge's fire. She helped deliver the team's first win of the season, a 49-31 victory over Dock Friday.
"We didn't have Ashley last year because of an injury,' Pennridge coach Lindsey Tennett said. "We're glad to have her back. She's always been a threat from the three-point line.'
There were only three three-pointers in the game, all of them coming from Pennridge.
"Last year, we lived and died by our threes,' Tennett said. "This year we have an inside game and an outside game.'
The key difference between this year's Pennridge team and last year's team is the dynamic, Tennett said.
"We didn't graduate anyone, but we have a completely different dynamic this year,' she said. "Just the whole perspective and team chemistry is much different, and much better.'
Dock, on the other hand, graduated players and is starting the year with young, inexperienced players and looking to find its identity as the season starts.
"We're a youthful team in experience,' Christopher Dock coach Tim Ehst said. "We were looking to find some semblance of order on the court today. We need to learn new positions and especially the nuances of each position.'
Although she is just a freshman this year, Jill Bolten stepped up during the game to lead the team with 15 points.
"We do need to find our identity offensively,' Ehst said. "Jill certainly did a good job leading us today, especially as a freshman.'
And although Bolten had a productive game, Ehst said there is plenty of room for improvement for the team overall before Dock's league season starts.
"We worked hard on taking care of the ball and shot selection,' Ehst said. "I was pleased with some of the progress. We'll need to work on our rebounding and taking care of the ball before our league season starts next week.'
Dock couldn't recover from the first quarter 8-point deficit, trailing the Lady Rams for the entire game. Pennridge outscored Dock in every quarter, although only by two points in the second and third quarters.
The second quarter overall was a stalemate, with no field goals scored until there was just four minutes remaining in the half. The quarter was a flurry of airballs and turnovers because both sides were moving too quickly.
The trend of being careless with the ball hurt Dock more than Pennridge, especially during the second half.
"The more tired we got in the second half, we got in a hurry, and that's where we weren't doing as well,' Ehst said.
Pennridge, on the other hand, slowed down with the ball in the second half to keep its commanding lead. Although Pennridge has quick players this year, the girls were more careful with their ball-handling and able to be more selective with shots.
"We have quick players that can make the easy baskets,' she said. "Last year we didn't have a good inside game. This year we do, and defense really has to play us inside and outside. That'll help us this season.'
Keeping the momentum alive throughout the game was critical to the team's victory, Tennett added.
"Once you get ahead, that's key. The team that has the lead has the advantage, and we knew that. We knew we had the advantage to power forward.
"That's what we were saying the whole first quarter on the sideline: ' Remember last year, remember being down 13 to nothing.' We weren't going to repeat it.'
With a 1-0 start to the season, Tennett said the team's prospect is brighter this year than it was last year, when the team finished the season with a 3-19 record overall.
"It feels good [to start with a win] for a change,' Tennett said. "It's exciting, and we're glad to have the first game out of the way. There were definitely some pre-game jitters.'
Christopher Dock (31): Seuren 3 1-2 7; Bolten 6 3-6 15; Hunsberger 2 1-2 5; Longacre 1 0-0 2; Demetrius 0 0-2 0; Swintosky 1 0-0 2; Totals 13 5-12 31
Pennridge (49): George 3 4-4 11; Rimmer 1 7-8 9; Tennett 1 5-9 7; Rink 5 0-0 10; Villella 1 1-2 3; Totals 14 17-23 49
Three point goals: George, Villella 2,
Christopher Dock 8 7 9 7-31
Pennridge 16 9 11 13-49