Dan Arkans (@danarkans)
Upper Moreland senior Holly Gohl has played in a plethora of big games before.
She helped lead the Golden Bears to the PIAA Class 5A Tournament a season ago after a special season which saw them win their third consecutive Suburban One League Freedom title.
She also spent time on the Hoop Circuit playing for the Mid-Atlantic Magic.
It is doubtful the 5-foot-11 forward ever experienced anxiety like she did Tuesday night against Lower Moreland.
Gohl entered the game just six points short of 1,000 despite a COVID-shortened freshman campaign. After scoring 22 points in her opener against Truman, six would be easy money for the talented senior.
Upper Moreland senior Holly Gohl scored her 1,000th point in Tuesday night's win over Lower Moreland. (Photo: Dan Arkans/CoBL)
“It was difficult. I thought it was six points, this is going to be quick,” Gohl said. “And then I couldn’t make a shot, my nerves were high. My teammates were struggling, too. We couldn’t hit a shot. It was hard for us.”
Gohl scored four points in the first quarter as the Golden Bears led 8-5, but she missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Then she had a scoreless second quarter as Upper Moreland fell behind 19-13 at halftime in what would be considered a rather large upset.
However, the senior quickly composed herself, freeing herself in the post for an easy layup just 12 seconds into the second half for her 1,000th point as Upper Moreland rallied for a 41-36 victory. It was the first time all night a big smile crept across her face as the game was stopped to mark the moment.
Gohl became just the seventh Upper Moreland girls player to reach the plateau and 12th overall for the Golden Bears.
“It’s a major accomplishment, it’s something I will never forget,” Gohl said. “All these people here supporting me, it means the world. I am so happy to go on the banner and be known around here for my accomplishments.”
It also freed Gohl up to have a typical Holly Gohl game, finishing with 18 points and 19 rebounds. The next time downcourt she rose up and hit a 3-pointer.
“To watch what she did at Truman to get within six points, you can see it was bugging her,” Upper Moreland coach Josh Adelman said. “Once she hit it, you could see next time she comes down and hits a 3. She was pressing. It’s human nature. She wanted to get it over with. We were all feeling for her, we were right there with her. She was getting good opportunities, they were just not dropping. We ran a play for her and she got that nice layup. It was really awesome to see the crowd explode.”
Gohl admitted she thought 1,000 points might not be in the cards after her freshman season. However, she kept going to work each day and her game continued to evolve. Old coach Matt Carroll hardly recognizes her anymore.
“When she came in she couldn’t shoot 3’s,” Carroll said. “Now, you can’t get her to post up. All she wants to do is shoot 3s.”
Gohl’s arsenal was on full display in that third quarter. While she missed one shot, she did recover to hit her final three buckets of the frame. She scored inside, midrange and long-range. By the time the quarter was over Gohl had 15 points and Upper Moreland led 31-30.
“I came in my COVID year, I thought that ruined it for me,” Gohl said. “I didn’t have a full season, it was more like half a season. I thought it ruined it for me. I really worked hard sophomore, junior year. I scored a lot of points to get me here. I am just really happy I got it.”
Gohl only scored three points in the final quarter but made a key steal down the stretch to preserve a lead that went up to 38-30. In the end it was just another team win, the way Gohl likes it.
“A lot of people are doubting us because of the new coach, new players, new everything,” Gohl said. “We are coming out strong. They are doubting us, but they shouldn’t be. We are coming out strong.”
Gohl has not made a college decision as of yet, hopeful that her senior year will do the talking. Adelman believes the new 1,000-point mark will open some more doors for Gohl. Her goal is still a Division II offer.
“We knew since fifth grade she would be someone to stick around for,” Carroll said. “She was coming to workouts in middle school. We always knew Holly would get to this point, it was just a matter of time. She started and was getting a loud place for her. We put a lot of trust in her as a freshman. ‘We are going where you are taking us.’ It’s a lot of responsibility as a freshman. We saw this coming for a long while, but it doesn’t make it any less sweet for anybody.”
Lower Moreland 5 | 14 | 11 | 6 || 36
Upper Moreland 8 | 5 | 18 | 10 || 41
Lower Moreland: McFerran 10; Brusha 5; Santora 7; Martin 4; DiJoseph 7; Broderick 3.
Upper Moreland: Lancit 5; Adames 5; Meyers 10; Hansen 2; Gohl 18; Allen 1.