Coleman confident in do-over at Pennsbury
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.
Pennsbury’s Shawn Pepper (L) drives past Truman’s Daveed Ransome in a 2011 Falcons’ battle with the Tigers.