BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – The Concord girls basketball team had been cruising through a dream season, winning its first 14 games by an average of 28.5 points.
But that meant nothing to William Penn, and with 5:24 left on Thursday night the Colonials were threatening to hand the Raiders their first loss.
Then Aahliyah Selby made another big play.
The junior guard drove and dropped a 10-foot jumper to set off a 15-2 closing run as third-ranked Concord pulled away for a 50-34 home victory.
“If I had to vote for Player of the Year right now, it’s her,” Raiders coach John Armstrong said of Selby. “She has come through all the time, been consistent from the first game all the way up to this game.”
Selby finished with 10 points, seven steals and six assists as Concord moved to 15-0 overall, 6-0 in Blue Hen Flight A. Sixth-ranked William Penn (9-5, 5-1) got 12 points from Jah-ni Jackson.
“I knew this would be a game that would test us, help us find out what we’re made of,” Armstrong said. “This is a good game to have before we finish the season out and get ready for the [state] tournament, and we’re going to have a couple more like this.”
The Raiders have five regular-season games remaining, including road tests at No. 8 Hodgson on Feb. 18 and No. 1 Ursuline on Feb. 23. But they cleared the first major hurdle and took control of the Flight A race.
“I’m proud of the way the kids responded under adversity,” Armstrong said. “They got it back together. Almost lost it a couple of times, but they got it back together and finished it off.”
Concord led 10-9 after one quarter, then opened the second period with an 8-0 run. Selby had a hand in all of the points – feeding Jamiyah Dennis for a layup, making two free throws, turning a steal into a layup and passing to Zhan’e Snow for another layup.
But William Penn began to solve the Raiders’ full-court pressure. Jackson broke the press for a layup, Shanira Mitchell hit a couple of short jumpers and Jackson found a cutting Jessica Behornar as the Colonials pulled within 26-21 at the half.
“We do it all the time, and we’re going to continue to do it,” Armstrong said of the press. “We changed up and went half court in the second half, because we were a little bit overaggressive. We needed to change it up a little bit.”
The game settled, and the Colonials’ Alize Felton faked out a defender and nailed a 3-pointer to pull her team within 35-32 with 5:56 remaining.
But Selby answered with a big bucket, and the Raiders started to roll. Snow banked in an 8-footer, Dennis hit a couple of layups and Selby turned another steal into a fast-break score to push the lead to 47-34 with 53 seconds to play.
“Heart, desire and talent,” Armstrong said of the key to the fourth-quarter run. “Those are three pretty good things to have.”
Wynter McLaughlin led Concord with 13 points and six rebounds. Snow added 12 points and six boards, and Dennis scored 12. Behornar was tough inside with four points and nine rebounds for William Penn.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.