GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Upper Dublin advances past Bensalem

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UPPER DUBLIN — For the Upper Dublin Cardinals, the top seed in the Suburban One League Tournament, their easy 61-41 victory over No. 8 Bensalem on Friday night was almost an afterthought.

With 1 minute, 58 seconds remaining in the opening period, Megan Ngo, Upper Dublin’s sensational sophomore point guard, while being swarmed by defenders under the basket, twisted awkwardly and crumpled to the floor.

The nearly full gym let out a collective gasp.

Ngo lay on the floor for several minutes in agony. Eventually, trainers were able to help her off.

She suffered a knee injury and was set to be re-evaluated on Saturday.

“She’s hurting right now,” Upper Dublin coach Morgan Funsten said after the game. “We’re trying to stay optimistic. She’s just going to get re-evaluated as time goes on, but it certainly didn’t look good.

“We’ll see what the pain is like tomorrow, and we’ll let the doctors and medical people make decisions about what’s next.

“Meg pops up no matter what happens,” Funsten said. “She’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever coached. So, when she’s down, you know it’s something. For our girls to respond to the adversity they faced tonight, I told them, I didn’t think I could be any more proud of this team and the way they handled the remainder of the game, because it was not easy for them to continue.”

Upper Dublin coach Morgan Funsten talks with his players during a timeout against Bensalem in the SOL Tournament quarterfinals at Upper Dublin High School on Friday, February 9, 2024. (MediaNews Group)

After Megan’s injury, Funsten called a full timeout to help compose his squad.

Ngo’s older sister, senior Amy Ngo, who suffered a torn knee two years ago, took over at point guard. Bridget DiMartile scored eight points in the second period, and the shell-shocked yet inspired Cardinals rolled to a 35-15 lead by halftime.

Freshman Tamia Clark finished with a game-high 22 points, Amy Ngo had 14, and DiMartile had 12 as Upper Dublin downed the Owls to advance to Saturday’s SOL semifinal at home against No. 5 Central Bucks East at 2:30 p.m.

Senior Amber Howard led the Owls (14-6) with 16 points. Ariana Jenkins added 11.

Upper Dublin (21-1) has a balanced and talented team, but the loss of Megan Ngo is certainly a blow to the Cardinals’ hopes for a district title and a state championship run.

The SOL championship games for both the boys and girls will be Tuesday at Holy Family University in Philadelphia.

Upper Dublin was presented with the SOL Liberty championship trophy before Friday’s tipoff. The Cardinals clinched the division outright on Monday with a late-season win over Lower Moreland.

— — —

Upper Dublin 61, Bensalem 41

Bensalem        8          7          17        9          —        41
Upper Dublin 15        20        13        13        —        61

Bensalem: Amber Howard 5 2 0-2 16, Ariana Jenkins 2 2 1-1 11, Talia DiMichele 2 0 2-2 6, Devon Bell 2 0 2-2 6, Peyton Miller 1 0 0-2 2. Totals — 12 4 5-9 41.

Upper Dublin: Tamia Clark 9 0 4-4 22, Amy Ngo 3 1 5-6 14, Bridget DiMartile 6 0 0-0 12, Kaitlyn Zacharia 0 2 1-3 7, Bridgid Brady 2 0 1-1 5, Nora Brady 0 0 1-2 1. Totals — 20 3 12-16 61.

— — —

Follow Christiaan DeFranco on Twitter at @the_defranc.

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