Golden Bears battle past Octorara
com Upper Moreland made a good argument toward the end of season and in the TuDUWHUfinDOV WKDW LW LV PuFK better than its 12-11 record suggests. The Bears made it D IDFW Ln WKH VHPLfinDOV.
Led by Matt hohn’s 28 points, Upper Moreland downed Cinderella eighthseed Octorara 60-55. The BHDUV nHYHU flLnFKHG DV WKH Braves constantly brought WKH JDPH WR wLWKLn fiYH, using clutch shooting, rebounding and defense to propel themselves into the GLVWULFW finDO DW VLOODnRYD.
“It’s a great feeling,” hohn said. “I think we have WKH uSSHU HGJH [Ln WKH finDO@ because we are playing really good basketball right now. It’s all about experience; we were in this tournament last year and we’ve been in a lot of close games this year. We did a good job tonight.”
Octorara had just come off upsetting ko.1 seeded Holy Ghost Prep and were high on FRnfiGHnFH, wKLOH WKH 1R. 4 Upper Moreland entered the semis with a 20-point win over Pottstown in the quarWHUfinDOV unGHU LWV bHOW. ,W wDV interesting to see whether or not the Braves would keep rolling or have a big-win hangover, but coach Brian Corrado and the Bears could not have cared less either way.
“Honestly, our mindset is that it didn’t matter who we were playing, they wanted a shot at going to the district title game,” Corrado said. “The seniors, the captains and all the guys did a good job of focusing on the next game. We knew if we win, we made it to the next step. They were up for the challenge.”
Proceedings were almost even throughout the game, but it was the little things that separated these two teams. Whether it was getting after a loose ball, snagging a key offensive rebound or making the extra pass, Upper Moreland proved that they were the team most worthy of advancing and they did it with experience.
The biggest lead the Bears had all night was 10, but that came in the fourth quarter. 7KH fiUVW WKUHH SHULRGV VDw Upper Moreland successfully attacking the basket on a regular basis. The Bears got inside early as hevin McFall had six of his 15 points in the opening eight minutes. However, hohn was the star of the show, scoring 11 of his 28 in the second quarter on a combination of drives to the basket and spot-up jumpers. By halftime Upper Moreland had a 30-23 lead and felt in control.
“McFall and hohn are key for us,” Corrado said. “hohn is a three year starter in a very tough league. He has a lot of battle experience and it shines through in a game like this. vou hope you can get the guys to a stage like this and hevin is the same
way. He did a good job defensively, but he also came down with key rebounds.”
Octorara never let the Bears get too comfortable, though. Every time Upper Moreland started to pull away a bit, Maurice Bowers, who led the Braves with 19 points, would hit a bomb three from way beyond the arc to spark his team back into the game. However, whenever the Bears needed to go in defensive mode, they locked down tight. They also used a size advantage, killing Octorara on the boards for the majority of the night.
“I dedicate myself to defense and rebounding,” McFall said. “Scoring is nice, but you have to commit yourself to the little things in order to win and I pride myself on doing that. We are going to have to run, get rebounds and play tough against Pope John Paul if we want to win.”
Upper Moreland went into WKH finDO HLJKW PLnuWHV uS MuVW fivH, EuW WKHLU FRnfidHnFH never wavered. Even if Bowers hit a big three to inch the Braves closer, the Bears just countered with a McFall layin or converted free throws. Upper Moreland was eight for 12 from the charity stripe in the fourth, good enough to keep the opposition from feeling too good about their chances of a full comeback.
The Bears knew that OcWRUDUD wRuOd FRPH Ln flyLnJ high, but they smothered all emotion and played a good, hard-fought basketball game. TKHy dHVHUvH WR EH Ln WKH finDO against Pope John Paul II and it will certainly be an interesting battle given Upper Moreland’s momentum.
“I’m really happy for the kids,” Corrado said. “It’s a great win and I’m proud of them, they worked hard. We have another goal in mind and we are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday.”