Re-tool­ing In­di­ans off to un­beaten start

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - By Steve Sherman

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Ed­i­tor In its first sea­son with­out de­par­tures Ar­ron Good­man and Aaron Mor­gan, Coun­cil Rock North is in re-tool­ing mode rather than re­build­ing.

The In­di­ans, District One run­ners-up last sea­son, are off to a 3-0 start in­clud­ing tonight’s Sub­ur­ban One League open­ing win against league ri­val Wil­liam Ten­nent.

Off to a re­sound­ing 18-6 first quar­ter edge, the Rock let the Pan­thers back into the con­test in the sec­ond stanza when Ten­nent out­paced the In­di­ans by a 14-8 mar­gin. That’s when lead­ing scorer Matt Alden (20 points) took con­trol of the game, out- scor­ing the Rock’s en­tire ros­ter 6-4 in the first four min­utes and 8-7 in the first six. When Mike Wasser­leben hit a 3-point play with less than a minute left in the pe­riod, it drew the Pan­thers within six.

“I think we start off really good; that’s what’s hap­pened the past three games,” said CR North ju­nior Rip En­gel, who fin­ished with 12 points. “To­wards the mid­dle we kind of – I don’t know what really hap­pens; we just kind of set­tle in.

“We have learn how to keep up our in­ten­sity the en­tire game.”

En­gel com­bined with se­nior Kyle McCloskey, Bran­don Knotts and Ryan Baker in post­ing an 18-6 lead by the end of the first pe­riod.

That’s when the Pan­thers clawed their way back into the con­test with Alden hit­ting for eight of 10 first-half points in the sec­ond pe­riod. Sopho­more sen­sa­tion Ho­race Spencer hit a 3-pointer late in the pe­riod that drew Ten­nent even closer.

While the In­di­ans stormed out with a 12-3 run af­ter the in­ter­mis­sion, the Rock could only watch as Ten­nent fin­ished the pe­riod with an 11-4 run of its own. While Alden got the Pan­thers run go­ing with a 3-pointer fol­lowed by a driv­ing layup, Ryan Baker, a first year starter for North, cooled Ten­nent off with back-to­back buck­ets of his own.

“Ryan got a lot of re­bounds; he’s phys­i­cal down low,” said En­gel. “He played a big part in the win with his de­fense – got a lot of stops when we needed them.”

Still, the In­di­ans led 42-34 af­ter three quar­ters, a good thing con­sid­er­ing the Pan­thers be­gan the fi­nal frame with a 9-6 open­ing spurt. But 48-43 is the clos­est Ten­nent would get as the Rock closed its third con­sec­u­tive win out with a 5-2 run.

Credit Knotts for ig­nit­ing the 53-45 win in the sec­ond half. When McCloskey cooled off with just three points af­ter the break, Bran­don sparked the In­dian

of­fense with 10 af­ter the in­ter­mis­sion to­gether with seven be­fore the break to lead North with 17 points on the night.

“We’re really go­ing to need him to make shots in big games, es­pe­cially late in the game,” said En­gel. “If he keeps that up, we’ll be good.”

McCloskey was next with 13. En­gel checked in with 12, BDNHU – 6, DnG -RsK McWil­liams – 5, in­clud­ing a big 3-pointer in the clos­ing min­utes of the sec­ond pe­riod when the Rock’s ofIHnsH wDs sWUug­gOLng WR finG the bas­ket.

For Ten­nent, Alden led all scor­ers with 20, Spor­nack added 10, Spencer – 9, Wasser­leben – 3 and Corey Ham­let – 3.

North pushes to 3-0 in­clud­ing wins over Malvern Prep and Con­sti­tu­tion while the Pan­thers drop their sec­ond straight af­ter fall­ing 43-37 Thurs­day night, Dec. 13 at Lans­dale Catholic. 7HnDnW KDG wRn LWs fiUsW WwR in­clud­ing a Dec. 8 win on the road against Spring­side CKHsWnuW HLOO (56-17) DnG Dec. 11 back home against 3Hn­nULGgH (60-56).

While the In­di­ans take the court this sea­son with­out the ser­vices of Good­man (Philadel­phia Univer­sity) and Mor­gan (UMBC), En­gel says the team has plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence. Both he and McCloskey are re­turn­ing starters along with Knotts wKR wRuOG fiW WKH sDPH GHscrip­tion had he not been in­jured last sea­son.

“I don’t think it’s that much of a re­build be­cause ev­ery­one was in the pro­gram last year,” said CR North ju­nior Rip En­gel, wKR finLsKHG wLWK 12 SRLnWs. “I think we’re just play­ing good to­gether right now.

“Ev­ery­one is con­tribut­ing.”

North re­turns to ac­tion Dec. 18 at home against Abing­ton be­fore hit­ting the road Dec. 21 at Tru­man. The Ghosts are also un­beaten and are 4-0 in­clud­ing wins over Arch­bishop Wood, CB South and Wis­sahickon. The Tigers are 3-1, their only loss coming at the hands of Norristown.

*** -9 127(S: 7KH 5RFN’s -9 ERys SuOOHG RII D GUDPDW- ic win Fri­day night when sopho­more Drew Glenn hit a three-pointer from the base­line with no time left on the clock in dou­ble overWLPH. 7KH -9 ,nGLDns WUDLOHG by 10 at the half be­fore pulling even at 39-all at the end of reg­u­la­tion. The Rock led by as many as seven points Ln WKH fiUsW RvHUWLPH SHULRG be­fore the Pan­thers evened the score at 47-all. Ten­nent led the sec­ond ex­tra ses­sion Ey fivH EHIRUH 1RUWK SuOOHG off a the­atri­cal come­back ELG. 7KH wLn SusKHG WKH -9 Rock to 1-1 over­all, 1-0 in the SOL Na­tional Con­fer­ence.

Photo by Steve Sherman

CR North se­nior Bran­don Knotts led the In­di­ans with 17 points as Rock won its SOL Na­tional opener Dec. 14 at Wil­liam Ten­nent.

Photo by Steve Sherman

CR North ju­nior Rip En­gel added 12 points to the In­di­ans’ win.

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