by Tom Utescher
It’s extremely rare to have two basketball teammates reach the 1000-point mark in career scoring in the same game, but last Friday Penn Charter seniors Kait Carter and Carmen Williams did it during the same quarter.
Hosting Inter-Ac League rival Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the Quakers had Williams hit a midrange jumper to reach the milestone with 5:33 left in the second period, and Carter broke 1000 three minutes later with a lay-up.
Unfortunately for the large crowd in PC’s Dooney Field House, there was not much drama after that. Already ahead 38-11 by halftime, the Quakers cruised to a 65-28 victory the raised their record to 11-1.
Carter posted a game-high 16 points, Williams scored 11, and freshman Kelsey Bess added 10 points for Penn Charter, which had opened its league season in December with an easy victory at Agnes Irwin.
SCH had been forced to postpone its original Inter-Ac opener against the Academy of Notre Dame, so Friday’s game was the Blue Devils’ debut in league play. Seven points from sophomore center Layla Sawyer and six from freshman guard Ava Chavez could not keep the Devils from slipping to an overall record of 3-6.
The Penn Charter careers of Carter and Williams began in ninth grade, when they both entered the school. Williams had been preceded by her older brother, Mason, now a sophomore playing for Fordham University. PC girls’ head coach Joe Maguire was then in his second year with the Quakers, and was beginning to put his own stamp on the program.
“Kait started right away that year, and Carmen was our sixth man and I think started some games later that year,” he recalled. “They both can score at all three levels (lay-ups, midrange shots, three-pointers). Kait’s more of a physical presence [she was also PC’s reserve soccer goalie], and Carmen (a jumper in track) is more a cerebral type of player. They’re both extremely hardworking, and always try to improve their games.”
Both quickly developed into team leaders, Carter becoming one of the team captains in 10th grade, and Williams accepting that responsibility the following year.
“They can lead in different ways, being vocal and also leading by example,” Maguire remarked.
Outside of school, Williams plays club basketball for the New Jersey-based Books and Basketball Academy, and Carter plays for the Philadelphia Belles.
Going into Penn Charter’s game against SCH last Friday, Williams needed nine points and Carter had to score 13 to hit 1000 points on the nose.
Pretty much everyone knew that, but the girls on the team were instructed to play as if they had no awareness of the special circumstances.
“We said to them that we’re not going to do anything different,” Maguire explained. “The team concept is what’s made us successful. We don’t look for one or two people to score, we want everyone to be an option.
“We instill into them to make the right basketball play for the situation,” he continued. “That can mean giving up a good shot yourself for a great shot by your teammate. With the success of the team, those individual achievements will come.”
After PC freshman Aleah Snead got the scoreboard rolling, Carter started in with a successful baseline drive and then hit one of two free throws. Williams began with a runner and then made a lay-up and an appended free throw a little later on.
In between Williams’ baskets, Springside Chestnut Hill received a lay-up from freshman guard Tatyana Hall and a transition basket from senior point guard Becca Arnold, so the hosts were ahead, 10-4, after five minutes.
Charter senior India Barnes stole the ball on the defensive end and converted on a breakaway, then a pass from junior Kaitlyn Hnatkowsky set up a lay-up by Williams. Scoring in transition and getting fouled, Carter moved three points nearer to four figures. A lay-up by Arnold for the Blue Devils made it 17-6, and that’s how the period ended as Carter came downcourt after blocking a shot but did not get off a shot in time for it to count.
At the start of the second quarter, Williams was just two points away from half-a-ton, and when Carter canned a “three” in the opening minute, she had four points to go. SCH had actually scored first in the second round, with Sawyer putting in a lay-up. After Carter’s trey, a pass by Williams set up a PC lay-up by Snead, and when she made a free throw tacked onto the play, the tally was 23-8 a minute-and-a-half into the second round.
On several possessions after that, both Carter and Williams missed shots, eliciting a loud groan of lament from the home crowd each time. SCH sophomore Maya McDermott made one of two free throws for the visitors, then Penn Charter came down the floor and set up. Receiving the ball near the left end of the foul line, Williams made a feint to open herself up for a shot, then hit the jumper get herself to the Magic number.
After the game paused for a brief ceremony on the court, play resumed with the crowd now in full Carter-Watch mode. The next three Quaker scorers however, were Bess (with a “three”), Snead, and Williams. With 3:15 left in the first half, Carter crept within one by banking in a three-pointer from the top of the key.
After that, it wasn’t along wait until she came down the court in transition for a lay-up that lifted her total to 1001 with 2:33 on the clock. After another celebration, a free throw by Charter sophomore Maddie Shoup set the halftime score at 38-11.
With the depth of the Penn Charter team this season, there wasn’t much relief for the Blue Devils even when most PC starters retired to the bench. Bess bagged seven points early in the third quarter and freshman forward Bella Toomey scored eight later on in the period as the hosts widened their lead by another 19 points to hold a 62-16 advantage going into the final frame. In addition, sophomore forward Amani Rivers scored seven points in the third and fourth periods.
SCH’s Sawyer rang up five of her seven points in a 12-3 fourth quarter that favored the Blue Devils. Arnold, McDermott, and freshman Tatyana Hall each contributed four points, and freshman Abby Fitzmaurice scored three.