TOWAMENCIN — Heading into the quarterfinals of the District 1-AAAA Tournament, the No. 22-seeded Central Bucks East girls basketball team had already upset No. 11 Harriton and No. 6 Upper Dublin.
From the opening tip Saturday afternoon, North Penn showed it didn't want to follow that trend.
Vicky Tumasz and Erin Maher each scored 14 points, Bri Cullen added 10 more and No. 3 North Penn rode aggressive defense and well-timed scoring past visiting CB East Saturday, 55-43.
The Maidens advance to face WC Rustin Wednesday night at Harriton High School in the district semifinals at 6 p.m.
"It was a great effort, we really executed well at times,' North Penn coach Maggie deMarteleire said. "We got off to a great start and did a good job executing the defensive game plan we put in.'
Great start may not do North Penn justice. After one quarter of play, the Maidens seemed to have a trip to the next round wrapped up. North Penn started the game with a 14-0 run and ended the first quarter up 20-5.
Freshman Sam Carangi hit three 3-pointers in the first period of play.
But like it has throughout the season, East clawed and fought its way back into the game. The Patriots trailed by just 12 at the half and had North Penn's lead down to as few as seven in the second half. Courtney Webster led the charge for East, scoring 14 points — 10 of which came in the second half
"We had to take off the full court (press) because they made some adjustments and were getting ahead of us,' deMarteleire said. "They beat us on the boards in the third quarter and did a good job of coming back.'
Still, the first-half deficit was just too much to overcome for the Patriots, who had allowed only 15 points during their Wednesday night second round win against Upper Dublin. North Penn found boosts from clutch outside shooting, free throws, and its turnover-forcing defense.
As she has been throughout her carrer, Maher was a rock for North Penn. After spending the first quarter distributing the ball and setting up her teammates on the offensive side, she hit a number of shots from all various spots on the court in the final three quarters, including four of five free throws in the fourth quarter.
"I thought the quick start really set the tone and got us ahead,' said Maher, who will play basketball and volleyball at Philadelphia University next year. "That definitely gave us some breathing room. They made some adjustments but I thought we played pretty well in the end. Our team just seems to have great chemistry and everyone knows their role.'
For deMarteleire, the word of the day was hustle. She seemed to scream it every 30 seconds as the two teams dove for loose balls and fought rebounds on nearly every possession. deMarteleire said she couldn't remember ever seeing her team on the ground that much.
"We were diving all over the place,' she said with a smile.
District 1-AAAA Quarterfinals
North Penn 55, Central Bucks East 43
Central Bucks East 5 14 16 8 — 43
North Penn 20 11 12 12 — 55
Central Bucks East: Katelyn Miller 2, 0-0 4; Emily Sebeski 2, 0-0 4; Lindsay Nier 3, 2-3 8; Karoline White 4, 0-0 8; Coutney Webster 7, 0-1 14; Kyra Scaliti 1, 2-3 5
North Penn: Erin Maher 4, 5-7 14; Mikaela Guiliani 1, 0-0 2; Vicky Tumasz 4, 4-5 14; Sam Carangi 3, 0-0 9; Bri Cullen 2, 5-6 10; Irisa Ye 3, 0-1 6
Three point field goals: CBE: None; NP: Carangi (3); Tumasz (2); Cullen.