North Penn stunned by Up­per Darby

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

The North Penn boys bas­ket­ball team needed to mus­cle through one last screen to per­se­vere one more time. How­ever a six-foot se­nior point guard named huity Slanger si­lenced the vis­i­tors and helped his team avoid an up­set by drilling a three­p­oint bas­ket from the top of the key.

Sit­ting in the locker room de­jected back in Jan­uary with a 5-10 record, the hnights would have set­tled IRU D ORVV Ln WKH fiUVW URunG of the District lne Class AAAA play­offs. But that is be­fore they ac­tu­ally took the flRRU DnG IRunG WKHPVHOvHV sec­onds away from the sec­ond round. ln Fri­day, the 45-44 loss to Up­per Darby left the hnights’ dev­as­tated and shocked.

“te gave this team that is ranked much higher than us a great game,” hnights’ se­nior cap­tain Michael Swan­son said. “I am proud of the way my team­mates and I fought and the ball just did not bounce our way at the end.”

A seven-game win streak to close out the reg­u­lar sea­son landed them the 24th seed and their de­fen­sive ef­fort against the ninth-seeded Roy­als al­lowed them to a hold a seven-point lead with two min­utes left in the fourth TuDUWHU. 7KH vDULHWy RI zRnHV and match-ups con­fused the sec­ond place team from the Cen­tral League. The Roy­als were un­able to get their guards space and they turned the ball over 20 times in the game. The hnights held a lead through­out the stopDnG-VWDUW finDO VHFRnGV.

“They have been un­der­sized all year and I thought they did a great job re­bound­ing,” hnights coach John Con­rad said. “te had a cou­ple chances down the stretch to make free throws and we FRuOG nRW GR LW. ,n WKH finDO sec­onds we let them have too many re­bounds and it did us in.”

Af­ter miss­ing a few foul shots and fail­ing to pull down de­fen­sive re­bounds,

the Roy­als re­ceived one last clean look with a side in­bound pass with 10.6 sec­onds left on the clock. It was the hnights’ abil­ity to re­bound that al­lowed them to take a 22-21 score and use a 22-6 run to es­tab­lish that the up­set was be­com­ing a re­al­ity. Lead­ing the charge on the glass was the 6-foot-1 Swan­son, who pulled in six boards and scored a game high 13 points.

“Coach had them on point and the game plan was ex­actly right,” Swan­son said. “I knew they could run a lit­tle bit, we knew their ten­den­cies and knew what each player could do. There were streaks when we were re­bound­ing and streaks when were not, but we played phys­i­cal un­til the end.”

Swan­son drained a three- pointer and hit two free throws in the fourth quar­ter and had the hnights at an­other level. Slanger was rel­e­gated to dish­ing to nu­aGLU 5LFH, WKR fiQLSKHG WLWK 13 points. The only time 6ODQJHU FRUOG fiQG DWDY around the hnights’ Stephan Brown was af­ter a time out on a play drawn up to get the ball in the hands of Roy­als’ go-to guy. tith two three­p­oint­ers in the fourth quarWHU, 6ODQJHU fiQLSKHG WLWK 10 points.

“Steph did a great job on him all game,’ Con­rad said. “They had to go out and gap block him to get open. They gave me that ef­fort all year and I am really proud of them. They played their hearts out and came out on the wrong end tonight.”

No one ex­pected the hnights to be even in the district play­offs even af­ter a fiVH-JDPH WLQ SWUHDN. 7KHQ at six in a row the 32nd seed and chance to lose to Ch­ester was an op­tion. But the 24th seed and sec­onds away from WKH fiQDO 16 WHDPS SODYLQJ LQ the district were not in the wildest dreams. There is no doubt that the de­jec­tion the hnights im­me­di­ately felt on Fri­day will quickly fade to pride.

“Right now it is painful,” Con­rad said. “Th­ese kids have taught me more than I have been able to teach them about be­ing tough. They never stopped bat­tling and I am so proud of them.” re­spect our shot. They got some ques­tion­able charge calls. It is frus­trat­ing. I don’t know what else to say.”

As hanas watched the tar­riors rally back with an 8-0 run, a few whis­tles un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally got un­der his skin. An of­fen­sive charge call on the In­di­ans’ Bren­dan tag­ner was made WRUSH WLWK WKH fiUSW WHFKQL­cal foul call on hanas. Af­ter Matt For­rest hit both his foul shots the tar­riors led 37-35 and never looked back.

hanas picked up a sec­ond tech­ni­cal foul a few min­utes later and was done for the night as the game headed LQWR WKH fiQDO fiVH PLQUWHS. The se­nior’s ejec­tion forces him to miss Fri­day’s game against the Ti­tans.

“te lost our com­po­sure,” In­di­ans coach Pete Chimera said. “There was a chain of events that were out of our con­trol. te were do­ing great, run­ning our stuff, and it seems like the big turn­around was the of­fen­sive foul on tag­ner.”

The In­di­ans have not played WLWKRUW .DQDS RQ WKH flRRU RIten this sea­son, but had to do so in the big­gest game of the sea­son. Se­nior Dan l’Hara came off the bench and a three-point play brought the In­di­ans back to within one point, but that was as close as the Big Red came. The IndiDQS SKRW 3-IRU-11 LQ WKH fiQDO quar­ter. Be­hind hanas in scorLQJ WDS :DJQHU, WKR fiQLSKHG with nine points and three re­bounds.

“I thought Bren­dan did a nice job,” Chimera said. “tithout hanas we drew up things for Bren­dan and things for Austin (Murphy). te tried to get them go­ing, but Methac­ton did nice a MRE. :H KDVH WR fiJUUH LW RUW quick be­cause Fri­day we have to play with­out him.”

tag­ner bat­tled foul trou­ble all game, as he was given the task of shut­ting down tar­riors’ lead­ing scorer, se­nior Bren­dan Casper. Casper scored six points early and 10 LQ WKH fiQDO TUDUWHU DS KH fiQished with 22 points and 10 re­bounds.

The tar­riors did enough GHIHQSLVHOY WR fiQG D WDY to make the con­tin­u­ous mo­men­tum shifts stop in their fa­vor. There is noth­ing the tar­riors have not seen yet, and that is what has them ex­cited mov­ing for­ward.

North Penn’s Erin Ma­her cuts be­tween Soud­er­ton de­fend­ers for a bas­ket dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s District One Class AAAA play­off ac­tion.

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