Re-tooling Indians off to unbeaten start
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.
CR North senior Brandon Knotts led the Indians with 17 points as Rock won its SOL National opener Dec. 14 at William Tennent.
CR North junior Rip Engel added 12 points to the Indians’ win.