The Boyertown Area Times
Second quarter lapse sinks Bears
Boyertown falls to Neshaminy in opening round of districts
It was a brief stumble, but Neshaminy regained its feet immediately.
After allowing an eightpoint run in the first quarter to Boyertown, Neshaminy quickly found its adjustments and made up the difference when it needed to.
No. 18 seed Neshaminy defeated No. 15 Boyertown, 62-48 behind an immensely lopsided second quarter in the opening round of the District 1 Class 6A boys basketball tournament at Bear Gym on Thursday. The game marks Neshaminy’s first District 1 playoff win since 2018.
With the victory in hand, Neshaminy (15-9) will head to No. 2 Lower Merion in the second round of the District 1-6A tournament on Tuesday, time TBD. Boyertown’s season came to a close in-house.
Having taken a 12-12 draw through the first eight minutes of play, Neshaminy outscored Boyertown (15-8) 16-2 in the second quarter to walk into the locker room with a 28-14 advantage.
“First we wanted to stress defense. Defense wins games as coach (Mark Tingle) always says,” Neshaminy guard Emeer Coombs said. “We started with our defense and our offense came from there. We knew our offense would come, but Boyertown has some really good players. We knew we had to stop them before we could worry about offense.”
Coming off a 20-point performance against Plymouth Whitemarsh in the Suburban One League tournament, Coombs put up a game-high 23-point outing to open his district tour. Senior guard Sean Curley added 15 points.
But before Neshaminy reaped its rewards, Boyertown came out swinging in the first quarter. The Bears answered a 3-pointer from Curley to open the scoring with a pair of free throws from Dylan Klass (19 points) and a layup from Zach Ward (4 points), giving Boyertown a 4-3 lead to start the game.
Another four points from Boyertown was capped by a bucket from 6-foot-3 wing Jake Kapp — the second-leading scorer in the Pioneer Athletic Conference — for an 8-3 cushion, prompting a timeout from Neshaminy.
That five-point advantage was Boyertown’s largest lead of the night, as Neshaminy came out of its huddle firing on all cylinders from there to tie the game.
“We were able to get some defensive rebounds early, which led to some of our transition,” Boyertown coach Travis Miller said. “When we can get out in transition, when we can get open looks and get that attack going downhill towards the basket, good things happen for us.”
It wasn’t until the third quarter that Coombs really started heating up for Neshaminy, as the pieces around him made up the difference through the first half. The junior guard scored 13 points in the frame, his first three baskets coming from 3-point range.
On the night, Coombs went 8-for-8 from the field and 2-of-3 at the line, snuffing out any sparks Boyertown could produce from its starpower in Richard Black (5 points), Ryan Tinney (2 points), Ward, Kapp (7 points) and Klass.
“We went into the locker room a little high, we were excited,” Coombs said. “(Tingle) stressed to us that that half is over. We gotta come out with the same intensity, same hard work playing as a team. We came out with the half 0-0, it was a new game. We kept that intensity going, that run really motivated us to keep going.”
Senior point guard Nate Townsend (9 points), Joey Zack (7 points), Guy Horton (4 points) and Curley built up enough of a lead — padded tremendously by Coombs — that reached as high as 19 points in the fourth quarter.
Boyertown was unable to close the gap within 10 points throughout the second half as the Bears were disrupted, unable to get into a comfortable groove in any phase.
“The basketball IQ of their coaches and team, they were calling out different things we were trying to run so they were definitely very prepared,” Miller said. “Their kids were physical. It was a physical team that kind of got us off slots and we didn’t get some typical half-court sets that we’re used to getting. They really made us work for every inch.”
The last time Boyertown won a postseason game was 2007. And although the Bears missed out on the conference playoffs this season, Boyertown was able to bolster its stock in nonleague games to host the first round of districts.
That’s because Boyertown entered the 202223 campaign with experience on its side, but will be graduating eight seniors — Seth Kiefer, Michael Moccia, Trey Soto, Ward, Black, Tinney, Kapp, Klass.
“That’s the end of the road for these eight seniors. Eight really high-character, great kids. Loyal to the program, hard-working. I respect the hell out of them,” Miller said. “It’s gonna be upsetting seeing them go, but I know they’re gonna go on to do great things.”