How often do you have a Senior Night and no senior players to honor? That was the case Feb. 4 at Plymouth Whitemarsh.

Seniors usually are looked to as the leaders of a team. But juniors Anna McTamney and Gabby Cooper, along with sophomore co-captain Kaitlyn Flanagan, are filling that important role this season. Judging from the Colonials’ success so far, they have filled those roles admirably.

There are six juniors on PW’s roster, and just two of them are starters. Two more starters are sophomores, and one is a freshman. To say that the Colonials are young would be an understatement. Yet, PW jumped out to an amazing start this season, winning its first 17 games.

After losing their first two games of the season in the two weeks before, the Colonials bounced back with a 46-35 win over Upper Moreland in a Suburban One American Conference game on that Senior Night. They proceeded to win their third title in the last four years by beating Hatboro-Horsham, 65-36, on Feb. 6.

Despite losing to Upper Dublin last Friday in the Suburban One League tournament semifinals, PW is looking to build off its recent momentum going into the PIAA District One Class 6A playoffs. That’s where McTamney, Cooper, and Flanagan come in.

Plymouth-Whitemarsh's Gabby Cooper throws a pass against Upper Moreland.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Plymouth-Whitemarsh's Gabby Cooper throws a pass against Upper Moreland.

Providing leadership against Upper Moreland, McTamney, a three-year starter, took control of things down the stretch after the Golden Bears had cut the Colonials’ lead to 31-25. McTamney scored six of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter, helping to put the Bears away.

“Since I’ve been here the longest and have more experience than the other girls, I feel like I need to be able to be there for everyone and pick them up when they’re feeling down,” McTamney said. “I just feel like I have to be a role model and help them know what to do on the court and during practice.”

McTamney, who is also involved in the Cancer Awareness and Plastic Prevention clubs at school, has been playing basketball since early in elementary school at St. Genevieve in Flourtown. She then played youth ball in the Whitemarsh Youth Basketball League before going to PW. So she has plenty of experience that comes in handy when things aren’t going right.

Kaitlyn Flanagan drives on Upper Moreland's EmmyFaith Wood in the Colonials' victory.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Kaitlyn Flanagan drives on Upper Moreland's EmmyFaith Wood in the Colonials' victory.

“I just have to be able to make plays and help my team be able to communicate,” McTamney said. “I have to support all of my teammates. Usually me and the other two captains share our thoughts and what we think we need to do before each game, give everyone the confidence that they need in order to come out strong and prepared. Just give them good advice.”

Young teams are going to commit mistakes just because they are young. That’s why it is important to have players such McTamney, Cooper, and Flanagan around to perhaps point out better ways to do things, to smooth out the rough edges and perhaps show them how it’s done in game situations.

Her leadership will come in handy when the playoffs begin on Friday. You can bet her teammates will be listening.