When panic sets in, Upper Perkiomen's girls basketball team takes quick and wild shots, according to head coach Greg Swavely. "We need to learn to play with patience," Swavely said.
On Friday, Jan. 6 against Pottstown, that anxiety appeared to grip the Indians early on in a 56-14 loss. They missed their initial 13 shots from the field and committed nine turnovers in the first quarter. "Our shots get hurried when panic sets in," Swavely said.
The visiting Trojans took advantage, running out to a 16-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and 19-1 early in the second quarter.
Ebony Reddick, a junior and a three-year starter scored a game-high 16 points. Reilly Owens added 11 points. Nine players scored for Pottstown, which won just two league games last season.
"Pottstown has some experienced players," Swavely said. "We do not."
Kaitlyn Mundy scored a team-high 11 points for Upper Perkiomen (0-5 PAC, 1-10 overall). Sierra Kelly pulled down 15 rebounds.
According to Kelsey Bernhart, the players have proved they can overcome that anxiety by winning their opening round game at the Lincoln Leadership Academy Holiday Tournament.
"We need to get more consistent," she said.
Points have been relatively scarce this season for Upper Perkiomen. Inexperience has played a major role in those struggles, according to Swavely.
He cited sophomore Kaitlyn Mundy and Kelly, a junor forward, as the team's only players with significant high school playing experience.
Bernhart, one of three freshmen guards in the starting lineup, said she gets momentarily discouraged "when I don't give 100 percent on a play."
However, the players remain optimistic, according to Bernhart. She said they remain motivated to score more points in the next quarter, half or game.
"We're not discouraged," Bernhart said. "Everyone is playing hard. We're trying to get better." Bernhart said the Indians turned the proverbial corner in a 47-43 victory over the host Lions in the holiday tournament. Kelly finished with a season-high 26 points and pulled down 21 rebounds. "Everyone worked really well together," she said. "We proved that we can get the job done."
Swavely described the victory as a sign of what could come for his team. "We beat a good team and we played real well," he said. "It was a real shot in the arm."
The coach lauded Kelly's interior performance. He also described her leadership abilities as expectional. "We're working to make her offensive game more consistent in the low post," Swavely said. Bernhart, who handled the ball for most of the first half, is looking to improve her shot.