by Tom Utescher
GFS senior Lilly Dupuis (with ball) is guarded by Mia Kolb, who is part of two sets of twins playing for Jenkintown High School. (Photo by Tom Utescher)
In most sports in most years, Jenkintown High School is a good fit for Germantown Friends teams looking to play non-league opponents. One of the smallest public high schools in the Philadelphia region, Jenkintown isn’t going to overwhelm any independent school by being able to draw upon an extensive enrollment.
Last Wednesday evening’s basketball contest at Jenkintown was an exception. Under longtime head coach Jim Romano, the Drakes’ program benefits from a well-established system, and from the fact that most team members play together in summer league basketball.
Many of the GFS Tigers, on the other hand, don’t spent much time handling “The Rock” outside of the official school season. In addition, the team just graduated a four-year floor general and is working under an entirely new coaching staff.
All this was reflected in the outcome last Wednesday, when the Drakes turned a 34-5 halftime lead into a 52-20 victory, climbing to a 6-0 season record. The players for Germantown Friends (3-5) coped with ball pressure a bit better in the second half than they had in the first, and they were able to put into practice at least some of the concepts new head coach Mike Lintulahti discussed during time-outs.
The Tigers couldn’t be blamed for seeing double during Wednesday’s game. Among Jenkintown’s top six players are two sets of twins, juniors Ashley and Jennifer Kremp, and sophomores Mia and Natalie Kolb.
Jenkintown got on the board with a solitary free throw by junior Amelia Mulvaney, who’d been fouled by GFS freshman forward Curran McLaughlin 14 seconds into the game. McLaughlin picked up her second personal just four seconds after that, and Germantown had to temporarily take its tallest starter off the floor.
Most of Tigers’ early difficulties originated not under the basket, but out on the open floor as they had trouble hanging onto the ball in the face of the Drake’s defensive pressure. All four twin sisters scored in the opening quarter for the hosts, who were up 11-0 before the visitors got on the board with a baseline drive by eighth-grade forward Jessica Moore. She had subbed into the game in the middle of the period.
In the final minute, junior Maya Keren went to the foul line to make the first of her two shots, and on the missed second attempt Tigers senior Lilly Dupuis grabbed a loose-ball rebound and put in a 15-foot jumper from the left side.
The opening period ended with a 15-5 advantage for the Drakes, who really hit their stride in the second quarter, shutting out their guests en route to a 34-5 halftime lead.
The scoring was more balanced in the second half; 18-15 in favor of Jenkintown. This was partly due to the fact that the Drakes made liberal use of their bench, but it also should be noted that the GFS girls settled down and cut way back on their errors. Most importantly, they played hard throughout.
A drive by the dependable Dupuis gave the Tigers their first points of the third quarter, and later Moore’s eighth-grade classmate, guard Desiree Norwood, scored on a baseline shot. Junior Corin Grady banked in a jumper from the left wing in the final 30 seconds to set the score at 41-11 for the start of the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Gigi Guida got GFS going in the final frame with a three-pointer fired from the right side of the floor. Moore struck from near the foul line and then pressed the attack inside, depositing a pair of lay-ups to complete the scoring for the visitors.
Jenkintown’s Mia Kolb had started out with a three-pointer, but she accumulated most of her game-high 20 points on transition sequences. Her sister Natalie added four points, and the Kremp twins, Ashley and Jennifer, scored eight and two points, respectively.
The Drakes received six points from sophomore Caroline Arena, four apiece from Mulvaney and junior Gabrielle Jackmon, three from sophomore Georgia Griffin, and one from their lone senior, Cassidy Robbins.
Moore recorded eight points to lead Germantown Friends, which marked down four points for Dupuis, three for Guida, two each for Grady and Norwood, and one for Keren.