North Penn tops LC for fifth straight

North Penn Life - - Sports - By An­drew Mar­cus amar­cus@jour­nalregis­ter. com

It is more likely than not that their paths have crossed. The play­ers on the North Penn and Lans­dale Catholic boys bas­ket­ball teams are bound to have seen one an­other on the play­grounds or in the sum­mer leagues around town over the years.

The Cru­saders’ sec­ond year coach Ed Enoch un­der­stands the ri­valry a lit­tle bet­ter than the sec­ond year coach for the hnights, John Con­rad. Enoch coached CYl ball in Lans­dale be­fore tak­ing the gig with the Cru­saders.

Con­rad came over from Lower Moreland, but al­ready can tell this non-league game can­not go any­where.

“In terms of the ri­valry I am not too fa­mil­iar with it,” Con­rad said. “But it’s great. Ed and I talked and we would really like to keep this thing go­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

Friends be­came foes for a few hours on Satur­day. The Cru­saders were look­ing to snap a three-game los­ing streak while the hnights were look­ing to make it five con­sec­u­tive wins.

A cou­ple of clutch shots to open each half al­lowed the hnights to carry mo­men­tum over from a thrilling win the night prior and hold on for a 52-43 win against the Cru­saders. Adren­a­line spilled over from an over­time up­set win over Hat­boro-Hor­sham on Fri­day.

“I was afraid we were too emo­tion­ally up last night,” Con­rad said. “I thought we might have a let­down to­day, but that is what my se­niors bring. They bring lead­er­ship. The starts in the first and third quar­ters really helped us.”

It ba­si­cally was bas­ket­ball, sleep, bas­ket­ball for the hnights. Fa­tigue was a le­git­i­mate con­cern, but the shoot­ing of Ja­son Jones did not al­low for a slow start. The ju­nior drained the first four shots he took and helped the hnights race out to an early lead.

“We had a lot of adren­a­line to start the game,” Jones said. “We were all fired up. We wanted to win five in a row.

Jones fin­ished with 13 points while se­nior Stephan Brown led the hnights with 15 points. The hnights con­stantly im­prov­ing bench made it pos­si­ble to keep the club fresh. The Cru­saders also ro­tated nine play­ers, but other than se­nior Brian Raf­ferty — who fin­ished with a game high 15 points — the Philadel­phia Catholic League team strug­gled to sink shots.

“We just have not been shoot­ing the ball real well,” Enoch said. “Brian is very un­selfish, but he is start­ing to re­al­ize how tal­ented he is. He gets ev­ery­body touches. He is a very good point guard.”

While de­fense by the hnights played a large part, the Cru­saders have seen bet­ter nights from their guards. Sharp­shoot­ing An­drew Riviello scored all six of his points in the fi­nal four min­utes of the game. The Cru­saders need to get back on track quick if they want to sneak into the post­sea­son.

“Riviello is a great shooter, but you are not go­ing to make your shots once in a while,” Enoch said. “He will bounce back. He is a good player. First 10 teams get into the play­offs and we only have one league win, so we have to get at least three league wins to get in the play­offs.”

It would have been hard to talk post­sea­son for the hnights two weeks ago, but af­ter five straight wins and the con­fi­dence at an all-time high, the Sub­ur­ban lne Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence team re­fuses to count them­selves out. But if they do fall short of dis­tricts, they are cer­tainly build­ing some­thing spe­cial for next sea­son.

“We are play­ing great ball,” Jones said. “Ev­ery­body who comes in plays hard and plays good de­fense. Right now we are hard to beat. We will have a lot veter­ans coming back next year too. We will play to­gether all sum­mer and come back even bet­ter next year.”

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