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Freshman Quartet Provide Glimpse of Tribe Girls Future
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            In a lopsided loss last weekend, four ninth graders received significant minutes. Matt Bowe, head coach of the Upper Perkiomen girls basketball team, described it as a possible preview of next year's starting lineup.

Gabriella Neal, a junior guard, fights to set up a 

shot under the basket against Pottsgrove last Friday.

            "What they have given me so far is impressive," he said. "I'm happy with where we're at."

            The Indians, who fell behind quickly against visiting Pottsgrove, suffered a 61-14 loss on Friday, Feb. 12 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Hannah Keeney, a junior forward, scored a team-high six points. Erin States, a 6-foor-1 post player, added four points.

            States, a ninth grader who has developed into an interior presence, was joined on the floor by three classmates who received significant playing time. Two of them made their varsity debuts.

            Elena Fabian and Hannah Guffey, a pair of forwards, came off the bench against Pottsgrove. Natalie Kearney, a 5-foot-2 guard, played in her second varsity game.  "Those girls just want to compete," Bowe said. "I'm very impressed with what they gave me."

            Kearney made her varsity debut on Feb. 10 in a 70-26 road loss to Owen J. Roberts. Keeney scored a team-high 14 points, while States added eight points for the Indians who trailed 22-12 at halftime.

            Bowe said Fabian worked her way into a varsity game after posting a "tremendous" defensive effort in the JV game against Owen. J. Roberts.  "Elena is just a natural athlete," he said.

            According to the coach, the quartet of ninth graders understands the game. Fabian, Kearney and States helped lead the eighth-grade team to a 12-1 record last season. He said it's quite possible all four could find themselves in the starting lineup, with Keeney as the lone senior, next season.

"We're still building team chemistry," Bowe said. "We need offseason to progress."

            Against the Falcons, Upper Perkiomen struggled. The team, which committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter, fell behind 18-0.

            Justine Fretz scored eight of her game-high 13 points in the first quarter for Pottsgrove. Rachel Ludwig contributed six of her eight points in the initial eight minutes.

            Bowe conceded that the Falcons are superior to his team. He said their 10 seniors displayed significant poise and experience.  "They were making five, six and seven passes during a possession before taking a shot," the coach said.

            According to the coach, Upper Perkiomen's season plateaued with its 36-23 victory over Upper Merion on Feb. 5 that snapped a 60-game conference losing streak.

            However, Bowe said watching the Indians' young players develop has been enjoyable. Soon after checking into the game against Pottsgrove midway through the second quarter, Fabian registered her first career varsity rebound. Her first basket, on a short jumper, quickly followed. She finished with five rebounds.

            On Monday, the Tribe absorbed a 41-8 loss to Pope John Paul II. States finished with four points.

            The Indians are scheduled to conclude their season with three games in a four-day stretch. They have home games against Methacton (Wednesday) and Upper Merion (Saturday) and will face Phoenixville (Friday) on the road.





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