SOL Featured Girls' BB Game: Pennridge at Souderton

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Carley Kendall and Libby Wetzler share a special camaraderie. Their easy laughter and natural banter gives it away when they talk about life on and off the basketball court.

“We beat each other up,” Kendall said.  “When we play against each other, we want to beat each other up.
“Even in the hallways at schools, I always beat her up, but it’s all fun and games.”
Wetzler’s laugh suggests she doesn’t mind getting ‘beat up’ at all, and in truth, the Souderton duo – one a junior captain and leading player and the other a sophomore in a supporting role – are close friends off the court. On the court, they are developing into a tandem for the future under the basket.
The present isn’t too bad either.
Kendall leads the Indians’ in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds a game while Wetzler isn’t far behind, averaging 9.1 points and 6.8 rebounds.
“We all knew going in that both of them are going to need to play well on both ends of the court in order for our team to play well,” Souderton coach Lynn Carroll said. “As the season progresses and as our guards – who are very new to playing at this level – start to get more comfortable, it’s going to be tough for teams to focus on Libby and Carley.
“The better they play, the better their teammates are going to play around them. They’re already opening up more opportunities for our guards. There are going to be times when teams are going to have to choose to say, ‘Libby and Carley aren’t going to beat us,’ and then we’ll see if the guards can. They’re going to be a huge part of our success.”
Kendall and Wetzler met while working on their skills with Jay Jameson. When basketball season rolled around last winter, the duo found themselves going against each other regularly.
“I get pushed the hardest, and I work harder when I’m going against Carley,” Wetzler said.
That challenge, according to Kendall, goes both ways.
“Every day at practice, it’s just like playing in a game,” the junior captain said. “I do try to push real hard because I want us to be the two people to look for on the court.
“I love when I see post players working together. I think that’s what we’re becoming.”
Carroll acknowledged that Kendall and Wetzler share a special chemistry on the court.
“More than any players I’ve ever coached – if one of them receives a pass, the first thing they do is look for the other person,” the Indians’ coach said. “If Libby gets it, she immediately looks for Carley. If Carley gets it on the high post, she is immediately looking for Libby down low.
“When you have your two most effective offensive players playing that unselfishly, everyone else follows suit, and everyone is looking for the next pass and looking for their teammates to succeed.”
In the Indians’ 66-39 win over Hatboro-Horsham recently, Wetzler stole the spotlight with a 21-point, 11-rebound effort that also included a pair of steals and assists.
No one, it turns out, was happier than Kendall.
“It started out because coach K is always picking on us and saying how Libby is going to take my spot one day,” Kendall said of assistant coach Josh Klimovich. “I give it back that I’m proud of her, and honestly, it’s true.
“What’s better than seeing your teammate and one of your best friends on the team excelling and reaching her goal. I always tell her that she’s going to get a headline, she’s going to get a headline, and after that game, I was like, ‘This is your headline game.’”
Wetzler is quick to deflect credit her teammate’s way.
“I honestly wouldn’t have that game if I wouldn’t be playing with Carley,” she said. “I have reached some of my goals because Carley is helping me.
“I’m working harder every day at practice – I know that. I have gotten more aggressive. I watch the things she does to get the ball in the basket, things I need to work on, but also, Carley has amazing composure all the time, which is something that makes really good players.”
“We always feed off each other,” Kendall added. “I was teaching Libby how to go to the basket, and she was teaching me how to do a fadeaway jumper. We continually learn things from each other.
“As much as we compete, we’re always each other’s number one fans.”
This kind of talk, according to Carroll, is not just lip service.
“The neatest thing is to see their joy and happiness when the other one succeeds – it’s so genuine,” the Indians’ coach said. “I think it’s obvious to everyone, and I think it’s contagious for them to set that kind of example, especially given we have such a young team. I think it’s going to go a long way this year and for years to come.”
Wetzler’s strong sophomore season comes on the heels of an injury-plagued freshman year that included a sprained ankle, a broken finger, two asthma attacks within three days – one resulting in a hospital trip, laryngitis for three months and a knee injury that sidelined her for several games.
“That was really bad because it was like every time I thought I was progressing and getting better, something else would pop up that would make me miss games and practice,” Wetzler said. “You can’t get better if you don’t work at it every day.”
Wetzler was unable to play AAU basketball, but the moment she received the green light to resume playing, she was back at work.
“In the offseason, I saw those two girls more than anybody,” Carroll said. “They just did a ton in the offseason individually, and they seem to feed off of one another. One wants to get better, so the other one wants to get better.
“When I worked with them, it would always be both of them showing up working on different skills. They’re always competing against each other. As much as they compete, they’re thrilled when the other one succeeds.”
Heading into Tuesday’s game against Pennridge, the Indians are 4-4 overall but 3-1 in SOL play. Kendall and Wetzler are one-two in both scoring and rebounding.
“Carley being our most experienced player coming back – we knew a lot of teams were going to be focusing on her, and they have been,” Carroll said. “She’s never by herself. She always has at least two defenders on her, but she’s stepping up, and she’s really playing well.
“Libby has really started coming into her own this year.”
It’s all added up to a winning combination for the Indians, who lost junior captain Liz Mower (torn ACL) before the season began. Freshman Bianca Picard has capably stepped in to handle point guard duties and is averaging six points and 5.4 rebounds to go along with close to three assists and two steals.
Gabby McAndrews, just back from an injury, has given the Indians a long-range threat. She has connected on seven treys in the last two games, and Nicole Perna, the lone senior on the roster, brings energy and enthusiasm to the court.
“In our first game against Dock, everyone contributed, and it was really good to see,” Kendall said. “A couple of games later, it was one or two people, and we didn’t play so hot.
“Our goal is to get everyone playing 100 percent for every single minute.”
“That’s our theme,” Wetzler added. “Everyone is making good contributions.”
That being said, it’s no secret this Indian squad goes as Kendall and Wetzler go.
Ask the duo their ultimate goal, and not surprisingly, it’s about teaming together to be an unbeatable force under the basket.
“The biggest goal would be to be impossible to defend – high post/low post,” Wetzler said.
“And just to have the reputation that we work so well together,” Kendall.
That’s one goal they’ve apparently already achieved.
Just the Facts
This year’s record: Souderton 3-1 SOL (4-4), Pennridge 0-4 (0-7)
Last year’s record: Souderton 13-9, Pennridge 11-12
Last meeting: Feb. 9, 2010 – Pennridge 36, Souderton 33
Last game: Souderton 57, Quakertown 33 (Carley Kendall – 14 points, Gabby McAndrews – 12 points)
Hatboro-Horsham 56, Pennridge 53 (OT) (Jordan Rimmer – 11 points, Jen Cooley – 9 points)
Projected starters and season averages:
#11 – Gabby McAndrews (5-6, Jr., Guard) 5.1 PPG
#12 – Nicole Perna* (5-2, Sr., Guard)
#14 – Carley Kendall* (5-11, Jr., Center) 12.8 PPG, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 steals
#21 – Libby Wetzler (5-10, Soph., Forward) 9.1 PPG, 6.8 rebounds
#25 – Bianca Picard (5-5, Fr., Guard) 6.1 PPG, 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.8 steals
The rest of the Indians:
#1 – Allison Gallagher (5-9, Fr., Forward)
#3 – Stephanie Brown (5-5, Jr., Forward)
#4 – Katie O’Connor (5-3, Fr., Guard)
#5 – Elizabeth Mower* (5-7, Jr., Guard)
#10 – Erin Reagan (5-6, Soph., Forward) 4.8 PPG
#22 – Caitlyn Steinly (5-6, Jr., Forward)
#23 – Lindsey Kwiatkowski (5-10, Jr., Center)
Projected starters:
#10 – Jessie Dominic (5-5, Soph., Guard)
#14 – Jordan Rimmer (5-5, Fr., Guard)
#22 – Jen Cooley (5-7, Jr., Forward)
#44 – Brianne McGrath (5-11, Jr., Center)
#45 – Alyssa Marchunsky (5-7, Jr., Guard)
The rest of the Rams:
#12 – Molly McGuire (5-5, Sr., Guard)
#15 – Christy Knipe (5-5, Soph., Guard)
#21 – Shannon Chynoweth (5-8, Soph., Forward)
#24 – Nici Bonacci* (5-6, Jr., Guard)
#33 - Jessie Tennett (5-7, Fr., Forward)
#34 – Kim Patton* (5-10, Sr., Center)