Upper Perk's Danni Moser breaks through a pair of William Tennent defenders as she lays up for a shot in the opening game of the Quakertown tournament last Thursday.
The Upper Perk girls basketball team rode a strong defensive effort to a 46-35 victory over Palisades in the Quakertown holiday tournament’s consolation game last Friday evening.
Stacey Auckland’s 18 points and Dani Moser’s 13 helped the Tribe bounce back from a disappointing 49-31 loss to William Tennent, the tournament champion, the night before.
“I was mostly happy with the fact that we bounced back…in a big way,” said Upper Perk head coach Pete Sovia after the Palisades win. “It’s a team we could of beat, should of beat, and did beat.”
Moser and Kim Kachmar (6 points) helped the Tribe, now 7-3, to a 10-6 lead after the first quarter by hitting a pair of three-pointers.
In the second period, Upper Perk went on a 7-2 run right before the half to extend the lead to 22-15 at intermission. Moser, bouncing back from an off night against Tennent, hit for two more treys in the second quarter and added another bucket to pace the Indians’ scoring.
“[Thursday] night I was having a rough time,” the senior guard said, “so I just needed to break out of that bad spell.”
Sovia lauded the defensive effort of his team in holding the Pirates to 29 percent shooting and forcing 10 turnovers in the first half. At one point in the second quarter, the veteran coach subbed in four of his younger players at once to full court press Palisades.
“Good effort from everybody, really,” he noted about the team defense.
Except for a brief lapse late in the third quarter, the 'D' got even better as the Tribe opened the half with an 8-0 run to build its largest lead of the night at 30-15.
Kachmar hit another three 1:10 into the half, followed by Auckland’s traditional three-point play and another bucket off an offensive rebound.
In Sovia’s opinion, “The beginning of the third quarter… really took them out of the game. [We] did enough good things down the stretch to keep them at bay.”
Fueled by five points from Sam Sharo (7 points), including a three-pointer, Palisades went on a mini-run of its own and had the lead down to six before the Tribe’s Morgan Aldinger (5 points) sank a three in the last minute of the stanza to give Upper Perk a 37-29 advantage.
Aldinger, a junior, has looked a lot more comfortable at the guard position than she did last season. Against Palisades, she minimized her turnovers, got the ball inside to Auckland on several occasions for good scoring chances, and expertly orchestrated the four corners offense to kill some clock near the end of the game.
“I feel like we’re more comfortable getting the ball inside to our big people, and we have better movement of the ball,” Aldinger said about the Tribe’s offense.
Upper Perk’s defense went into lockdown mode in the final quarter, holding the Pirates without a field goal until 1:20 was left in the game. By that time the Tribe had a 12-point lead.
“We went to man and changed personnel here and there to make sure we had good match-ups, and the girls really stepped up on defense,” Sovia said. “Our guards really took them out of what they wanted to do. It made a big difference.”
Auckland took care of most of the offense in the quarter, scoring five of the Tribe’s nine points.
Sovia used the tournament to work 6-foot forward Holly Crossin back into the rotation.
“We’re looking for her to round into shape. She’s still struggling with that hip injury a little bit, but she’s certainly better,” he said.
Now it is on to the league schedule and a legitimate chance to make the PAC-10’s Final Four and the district playoffs.
Moser knows what will get them there.
“We have to keep up our defense, because that’s how we win games.”