Jenkintown girls have sights set on state basketball title

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Jenkintown's Mia Kolb left and Lebanon Catholic's Jasmine Turner chase a loose ball during the first half of a girls Class A state semifinal basketball game, Saturday March 24, 2018, in Downingtown, PA.( H. Rumph Jr / For the Inquirer )

The Jenkintown girls’ basketball team will attempt to put the finishing touches on a magical season Tuesday, when is faces District 6 champ Juniata Valley in the PIAA Class 1A state championship at the Giant Center in Hershey. Tip-off is at noon.

The Drakes are led by coach Jim Romano, who joined the 600-win club earlier this season, and senior twins Jennifer and Ashley Kremp and junior twins Mia and Natalie Kolb.

The foursome — all starters on both the field hockey and basketball teams — have formed a special bond. In the fall, the field hockey team won the the BAL Constitution Division title. That winning feeling has carried over into basketball for Jenkintown, which won Bicentennial Athletic League and District 1 titles.

“We just have this kind of chemistry,” said Jennifer Kremp, who has scored more than 1,000 points.  “Having that type of chemistry on the court is huge, and we just use it to our advantage.”

Jennifer Kremp made six foul shots in the fourth quarter and ended with 14 points as the Drakes (30-1) claimed a 50-46 win over District 3 champion Lebanon Catholic in a semifinal Saturday at Downingtown West. Mia Kolb and Ashley Kremp added 15 and 14 points, respectively. Natalie Kolb scored all four of her points in the first quarter.

Lebanon Catholic topped Jenkintown in last year’s state semifinals before taking down Juniata Valley in the final.

Senior Amelia Mulvaney rounds out the starting lineup for the Drakes, whose lone loss this season was a setback against Class 6A state semifinalist Souderton on Jan. 24. The team has averaged 50 points in state tournament games against Christian School of York, Linden Hall, Lourdes Regional, and Lebanon Catholic.

“I think they earned the respect of everybody today,” said Romano after Saturday’s game. “We’re going to represent District 1 and Jenkintown the best we can on Tuesday.”

Juniata Valley (26-3) secured its spot in the title game with a 55-33 win over Bishop Carroll last Tuesday.

The Lady Hornets are led by sophomore guard Halee Smith (16.8 ppg), senior guard Sydney Reed (14 ppg), sophomore guard Hayden Taylor (10.1 ppg), senior center Maddie Mattas (9.7 ppg), and senior guard Taylor Leidy (7.9 ppg). Juniata Valley beat Otto-Eldred, Berlin Brothersvalley, and Farrell before taking down Bishop Carroll.