Tigers claw Red­skins; stay un­beaten in SOL

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By Vince Par­avec­chia

Two teams met last Fri­day night at Tru­man High School fac­ing the same chal­lenge.

Both Ne­shaminy and the home Tigers are break­ing in a num­ber of new var­sity play­ers, mak­ing each squad very green in their own re­spec­tive ways.

By night’s end, one had showed the abil­ity to overFRPH WKDW REsWDFOH DnG finG pieces to turn to around a star player. That team was Tru­man, which nabbed 22 turnovers and dom­i­nated on both ends of the court be­hind an­other solid per­for­mance from Merdic Green. The re­sult was a 59-24 drub­bing to give the Tigers a vic­tory in both teams’ Sub­ur­ban One League (SOL) Na­tional Con­fer­ence opener.

“We had to work on what we didn’t do in our last game,” said Tru­man small for­ward Mar­cus Palmer.

7KH MunLRU DnG fiUsW-yHDU starter was re­fer­ring to pres­sur­ing the ball de­fen­sively DnG Uun­nLng WKH flRRU wKHn his team had a chance. That is the Tigers’ ammo, some­thing that didn’t quite come to fruition Dec. 11 at Norristown. Three play­ers reg­is­tered dou­ble-digit scor­ing in that game for Norristown and Tru­man had no an­swer af­ter keep­ing it close at half­time. The Tigers wound uS ORsLng WKHLU fiUsW FRnWHsW of the year by a 74-41 score.

Tru­man, how­ever, got right back on track against the Red­skins. The Tigers started fairly slow of­fen­sively, but the Red­skins couldn’t cap­i­tal­ize due to a rash of turnovers. Even­tu­ally, Tru­man’s of­fense kicked into gear as it poured on the tran­si­tion game and kick­out jumpers. Green scored sHvHn SRLnWs Ln WKH fiUsW quar­ter, while Palmer added six. Late in that pe­riod, Pa­trick Stone buried a pair of 3-point­ers, the last of which was a buzzer-beater that sent the crowd into a frenzy push­ing the Tigers out to a 21-5 edge.

“We were look­ing to make them un­com­fort­able from the start,” said Stone, a ju­nior shoot­ing guard. He finLsKHG wLWK HLgKW SRLnWs Ln the vic­tory. “Coming off the bench, I’m try­ing to cre­ate a spark right off the bat.”

Stone did just that not just with his shoot­ing, but also de­fen­sively. He had sevHUDO sWHDOs Ln WKH fiUsW KDOI WR con­trib­ute to 19 turnovers forced by the de­fense in that span. Con­versely, the Tigers were much more re­spon­si­ble with the ball, as they com­mit­ted just 11 turnovers by game’s end, sev­eral of which came with re­serves play­ing af­ter the in­ter­mis­sion.

Ne­shaminy put to­gether a bet­ter sec­ond half, but it was much too lit­tle, too late. The Red­skins gave the ball away only three times in that span and hit more jumpers in the fourth quar­ter than they did Ln WKH fiUsW 16 PLnuWHs.

“That’s go­ing to be the scout­ing report for ev­ery­one we see,” said Ne­shaminy coach gerry Devine about the pres­sure and run­ning of op­po­nents.

The Red­skins are in a tough predica­ment with­out the ser­vices of now grad­u­ated guard Ryan Ar­cidi­a­cono, who is cur­rently play­ing at sil­lanova Univer­sity. While he missed last sea­son with an in­jury, there were seven other se­niors on that squad, all of whom have also since moved on. That has forced Devine to bring up seven sopho­mores from last year’s fresh­man team WR KHlS fill WKH URVWHU. 2nH RI them, namely g.R. Stevens, is start­ing, as is fresh­man Sham­mond Thomas.

“We’re really just play­ing with a gs team,” said Devine, who is in his sev­enth year with Ne­shaminy.

“What’s frus­trat­ing about it is they work hard. They want to get bet­ter,” he added. “They’re just over­matched right now.”

Lead­ing the way for the Red­skins against Tru­man was ju­nior gaylen Picket, who scored nine points in the los­ing ef­fort. Se­nior Gar­ret De­nis chipped in a pair of 3-point­ers and sopho­more Trevor Lang an ad­di­tional four points off the bench. Con­sid­er­ing the only se­niors are De­nis, Mark Leon­hauser and Stephan Tucker and that just one of them (Tucker) is in the start­ing lineup, this is a young team that will be able to grow into a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent in the months and sea­sons to come.

But, that will take time and some pains along the way. With the loss, Ne­shaminy fell to 0-4 over­all DnG 0-1 Ln WKH S2L 1DWLRnDl. Mean­while, the ‘Skins have yet to score more than 40 points in a game. The clos- est they has come in de­feat was 17 to Holy Ghost Prep on Dec. 11.

“It’s a process of get­ting bet­ter,” said Devine. “We’re ex­cited about the young guys that we have.”

Tru­man, mean­while, is off to a 3-1 start and beat Holy Ghost, 50-48, in the cham­pi­onship game of the sea­son tipoff tour­na­ment hosted by the Tigers. They have held all but Norristown un­der 50 points and have got­ten solid con­tri­bu­tions from Green in the process.

“That’s our game plan. Re­bound and run,” said Green, a se­nior who has started all four years with Tru­man. He is play­ing at the point this sea­son and cur­rently con­sid­er­ing Har­cum and Dean Col­leges to con­tinue his bas­ket­ball ca­reer.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough sea­son be­cause we have a lot of young guys,” con­tin­ued Green, who had 15 points and 11 re­bounds in the Ne­shaminy vic­tory. “But, they’re get­ting there be­cause they pushed hard over the sum­mer.”

Palmer also had eight points in the win to help spell Green. All told, 13 play­ers scored for the Tigers, eight of whom came off the bench. That type of bal­ance coming from a team wLWK MuVW fivH VHnLRUV, Rnly one of which is a starter, gives the Tigers the potenWLDl WR bHWWHU lDVW yHDU’V fiUVWround District I tour­na­ment exit.

Photo by Steve Sherman

Tru­man se­nior Merdic Green led the Tigers with 15 points in his team’s dou­ble-digit win over Ne­shaminy Dec. 14 at home.

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