The Franklin Towne Charter girls basketball team defeated Dobbins Technical High School 43-25 Friday in the first round of the Philadelphia Public League Playoffs.
Towne’s girls team, the No. 1 seed in its division, was competing in only its second playoff game in team history. The team lost its only prior playoff game last season when it gained the final spot in its division. The team’s rise to the top of the division is only one of a recent string of athletic accomplishments that Towne has enjoyed.
A number of those achievements are tied to coach Brianna O’Donnell, who also serves as the girls soccer team coach. The soccer team has won the last two Philadelphia Public League Soccer Championships.
O’Donnell led her team against Dobbins in front of a raucous home crowd. Towne controlled the game from wire to wire, never relinquishing the lead. The leading scorer for Towne was Junior Forward Valentina Scalici, who tallied 14 points. Right behind Scalici was Sophomore Guard Alexis O’Neill, who contributed 12 points.
The pair led Towne to the school’s first-ever girls basketball playoff victory as they toppled Dobbins, 43-25. Both players stepped up to the plate as Towne was missing their leading scorer on the season, Junior Guard Stefanie Ulmer (out with the flu), who averages 18.8 points per game. O’Donnell said the girls played with their missing teammate on their minds, wanting to make sure she would get to play in the second round.
“I think the student athlete is one thing that really makes a high school thrive,” O’Donnell said of the correlation between success in the classroom and on the court. “Based on my experience in the classroom, year after year, some of my best students are my student athletes.” She said she feels that the success experienced in sport translates to other parts of a student’s life, as the athletes learn skills like time management, commitment and teamwork.
Towne girls will square off against Friere Charter School in the second round Wednesday.
Raymond Boyd is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.