Cole­man con­fi­dent in do-over at Penns­bury

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By Steve Sherman

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Ed­i­tor With 20N2 grad­u­a­tion, Penns­bury lost just about all of its start­ing lineup. Nev­er­the­less, head coach Bill CROHPDn LV FRn­fiGHnW WKH in­com­ing group can com­pete in the Sub­ur­ban One League ESOL) Na­tional Con­fer­ence.

Led by 6’2 shoot­ing guard Shawn Pep­per, the Fal­cons tipped off the sea­son on the road last Fri­day with a 5944 vic­tory over Prep Char­ter in the West Catholic boys bas­ket­ball tipoff tour­na­ment. Penns­bury fol­lowed the sea­son-open­ing win up with a 49-3T tri­umph over Philadel­phia Pub­lic League ri­val gohn Bar­tram to take the tour­na­ment ti­tle.

The boys take the court this sea­son with­out the ser­vices of re­cent grad­u­ates hi­eran Bol­ger, ger­rel Burke, oyan Char­ity and aan oan­som.

The shoot­ing guard and a N,000-point scorer, Bol­ger led Penns­bury last sea­son, av­er­ag­ing N6 points-pergame. The point guard, Burke chipped in with a N3-PPd av­er­age. Char­ity E8 PPd), a for­ward, and oan­som E5 PPd), the cen­ter, were also a big part of the Fal­con of­fense.

While that’s a to­tal of 42 PPd that Cole­man needs to re­place, the coach thinks he can do it.

“Even though we are young, we are very ex­cited about the sea­son,” said Cole­man. “We do have [Shawn] Pep­per back, who is one of the bet­ter ath­letes in the district; and we have two other guards who are strong.”

While Mekhi Bryant, a 5-N0 sopho­more who prom­ises to see time at a num­ber of guard po­si­tions, was not on the open­ing day start­ing ros­ter in 20NN, he did VWDUW WKH ODVW fiYH JDPHV RI the sea­son which in­cluded play­off wins over hen­nett and Methac­ton.

“Even though he doesn’t have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in terms of start­ing, he’s played in a lot of big games,” stated Cole­man.

In ad­di­tion to Bryant, Penns­bury has ju­nior Steve Ciotti and sopho­more Cameron gones, a 6-foot sopho­more who could see time at shoot­ing guard. gu­nior Pier­son Bur­ton, a 6-N ju­nior also fiJuUHV LnWR WKH FuUUHnW PL[ of guards for the Fal­cons.

“Those four are go­ing to have to pick up the slack in terms of guard play,” said Cole­man.

“We lost 29 points a game in hi­eran and ger­rell. That’s a ton of points to make up EuW , DP YHUy FRn­fiGHnW WKDW those guys can do it.”

:KLOH BUyDnW JRW VLJnL­f­i­cant min­utes play­ing var­sity last sea­son, gones and Ciotti are coming up from the gs squad.

“Be­ing so young, they’re go­ing to have their ups and downs. You have to put them in the right spot in or­der to min­i­mize that volatil­ity.”

“But I think in the end, wH’UH JRLnJ WR EH finH.”

Cole­man is hop­ing to get some ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tions from se­niors Blake hovin and aaquan Mack, play­ers just coming onto the hard­wood from the gridiron

“They are get­ting into bas­ket­ball shape slowly from foot­ball sea­son,” ex­plained Cole­man.

“Even though aaquan is a foot­ball player, he’s a pretty de­cent ath­lete so hopefully he can spot some time to help us man­age the bod­ies.”

Fill­ing in the void at cen­ter is Aamir Wil­liams, a 6-3 se­nior with a long reach.

***

Last sea­son, af­ter go­ing 5-5 Ln WKHLU fiUVW 10 JDPHV

in­Flud­ing baFk to baFk losses suf­fered at the hands of CounFil RoFk North, the FalFons won 12 of their next 13 matFhups in­Flud­ing their DistriFt One play­off opener against Ken­nett.

While Penns­bury opened the month of -an­uary with baFk-to-baFk wins over Abing­ton and Hat­boroHor­sham, the FalFons got wal­loped by state qual­i­fier CounFil RoFk North in New­town. In an en­su­ing road loss at Tru­man, Penns­bury watFhed a 5-point half­time lead evap­o­rate as the Tigers out­sFored the FalFons, 42-23, af­ter the break.

“We got our butts handed to us by North; they beat up on us pretty good. Then we Fame baFk and lost to Tru­man,” ex­plained Cole­man. “Then we just went on a roll.”

With a rowdy and rau- Fous home Frowd be­hind it, Penns­bury won 12 straight at home and went 13-2 on the sea­son at the FalFons’ Nest. A sin­gle loss to distriFt semi­fi­nal­ist and state qual­i­fier Abing­ton was the only thing that sep­a­rated Penns­bury from a 13-game late-sea­son win streak.

“The guys fi­nally re­al­ized we had a good thing,” ex­plained Cole­man. “It was just a mat­ter of them Fom­pletely buy­ing into what I was preaFhing and to what the FoaFhing staff was preaFhing.

“It fi­nally FliFked in; when that hap­pens, there’s no telling how far you Fan go.”

Dur­ing the run, the FalFons de­feated state qual­i­fier and D-1 sixth-plaFe fin­isher Soud­er­ton, 49-47, at home. In a 47-all dead­loFk with the In­di­ans with five seFonds left, Penns­bury got a shot off that missed. LuFk­ily, Ran­som was there for the re­bound and the en­su­ing put­baFk from 10 feet out.

In ad­di­tion to beat­ing state quar­ter­fi­nal­ist Coatesville in a shootout at home, the FalFons erased both half­time and third-quar­ter de­fiFits against distriFt qual­i­fier CB South to edge the Ti­tans 43-42 on a pair of free throws by Pep­per with less than five seFonds left in the game.

What im­presses Cole­man the most is the sup­port for the pro­gram from the fans.

“See­ing the qual­ity bas­ket­ball that Penns­bury is Fa­pable of. See­ing the sup­port that the sFhool and the Fom­mu­nity gives, it’s just amaz­ing.”

The Nest was on fire in the open­ing-round distriFt win over Ken­nett, as Bol­ger reaFhed 1,000 points in a mid-Fe­bru­ary matFhup for the FalFons.

“The sup­port that you get here -- you hardly ever see that in a high sFhool gym,” the FoaFh stated. “The guys get all exFited when they see that.”

While the faFes Fhange, the one re­main­ing Fon­stant is the grit­ti­ness the FalFons bring to the Fourt, said Cole­man, in his third year FoaFhing at Penns­bury.

“The kids here are tough. That was the one thing I had al­ways heard be­fore I took over. They’re a tough bunFh of kids and will work their tails off for ev­ery­thing that they get.

“That’s been pretty Fon­stant; they all want to get bet­ter.”

*** NOTES: Af­ter fall­ing in the DistriFt One semi­fi­nals last sea­son, the fa­vorite to win the SOL Na­tional Con­fer­enFe is Abing­ton. Bol­ger is Fur­rently play­ing at Wi­dener. Burke is play­ing at Rise AFademy. Char­ity went to Cabrini and Ran­some is play­ing in a -UCO pro­gram is Texas - San -aFinto. ZaFh Si­bel, who grad­u­ated in 2010, is play­ing at Del­Val. Cameron -ones is a Fousin to To­rian -ones. His dad *ary played at Penns­bury in the early-1980s. UnFle Mike -ones was a starter at Penns­bury who went on to play hoops at Rut­gers.

Photo by Michael Bucher

Penns­bury’s Shawn Pep­per (L) drives past Tru­man’s Daveed Ran­some in a 2011 Fal­cons’ bat­tle with the Tigers.

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