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Sports Article
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Perkiomen School Girls Basketball Starts New Season Strong
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Correspondent
            Randy Littlefield expects the Perkiomen School girls basketball team to repeat as Tri-County Independent League champions.  Destinee Astheimer, a senior forward, says the players are preparing to make a deep run into the state playoffs.  
            However, the Panthers (3-1) will likely have to capture their third straight league title in a more varied fashion, according to Littlefield, their head coach.
            The team, which opened its season by winning three of its initial four games, capped by a 44-15 win over West-Mont Christian on Tuesday, must figure out a way to replace the 17.2 points per game lost with the graduation of Nicole Pupillo.
            Littlefield said the Panthers, who will feature a couple players who have a green light to shoot 3-pointers any time, and a handful of other players who will be allowed to take shots from beyond the arc in some situations, hope to add the dimension of interior scoring to its offensive repertoire.  "This year's team is much stronger inside, which is different for us," the coach said. "I want to be able to score a lot of different ways."
            Stephanie Falcone, a junior guard making the transition from the point guard to shooting guard, is an effective 1-on-1 scorer in the low block, according to Littlefield.  "Stephanie really knows what she is doing down there," said the coach, describing her as Perkiomen School's best overall player.
            Astheimer, a small forward, knows how to play around the basket, according to Littlefield.  Forwards Jordan Barth and Kristen Burdo should provide an interior presence for the Panthers. Burdo and Falcone, along with guards Hannah Chiesi, Laura Vetter, and eventually Helena Tang, are expected to do their offensive damage from the outside, according to the coach.
            On Dec. 3, Perkiomen School opened its season with a 55-13 victory over visiting Mercy Vocational. Astheimer and Falcone each scored a team-high 12 points. Barth contributed 11 points, while Burdo chipped in with 10.
            According to Littlefield, the lopsided outcome allowed the Panthers to begin development of their bench players.  "I also saw good defensive control," he said.
On Friday, in a 39-35 opening-round victory over the host Blues in the Hill School Invitational Tournament in Pottstown, Littlefield said his team showed defensive toughness down the stretch.  "We were in a really tight game and gutted out a defensive win," he said. "We were mentally tough when we needed to be."
            Barth, an all-tournament selection, scored a team-high 12 points and Laura Vetter added nine to pace the Panthers.
            In the championship game Saturday against Springside Chestnut Hill, Perkiomen School fell behind early, suffering a 51-37 defeat. Astheimer finished with a team-high 11 points.
            The Panthers, who converted just 18 of 40 free throws in the tournament, took too many hurried shots in the tournament's title game, according to Littlefield.  "We didn't make (Springside Chestnut Hill's) defense work very hard," the coach said.
            According to Littlefield, Perkiomen School will continue to work on its free-throw shooting as it waits for the return of Helena Tang from a broken knee cap, likely in January, and the continued improvement of Burdo, who is recovering from a similar injury.
            "I'm happy that we started the season winning two of our first three games," the coach said. "We played two challenging games on consecutive days. We had to work hard."






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