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Arcidiacono rallies Neshaminy over Pennridge

Pennridge's Jake Pestrak and Pat Gillespie battle with Neshaminy's Danny Bodine and Pat Campbell during their game on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

EAST ROCKHILL >> Chris Arcidiacono’s ledger only continues to grow more and more impressive.

With his Neshaminy boys’ basketball team down seven at the start of the fourth quarter Tuesday night at Pennridge, Arcidiacono took over. The senior guard scored 15 of his 34 points in the final frame, hitting a 3-pointer, shots in the lane, drove to the rim, scored at the foul line and seemed to grow stronger with each bucket.

Behind Arcidiacono, Neshaminy rallied and topped the host Rams 72-68 in a wildly entertaining early season game.

“It helps greatly in the long run because that’s a playoff team right there,” Arcidacono said. “I think they’re going to win at least 17 games, something like that so this was almost an early playoff game, even with it being this early in the season.”

The draw of the game was the potential battle between Arcidiacono and Pennridge junior point guard Sean Yoder. Yoder scored 20, tied for the Rams’ team lead and like Arcidiacono, saved most of his efforts for the second half.

Pennridge’s Sean Yoder tries to block a shot by Neshaminy’s Anthony Papeo during their game on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

In the first half, it was the respective supporting casts that stole the show. With Arcidiacono off to a slow start offensively, guards Anthony Papeo and Charles Dominick picked up the slack. Neshaminy connected on four 3-point shots in the first quarter, taking a 19-17 lead.

For Pennridge, it was the Michael Molettiere show in the first half. The senior guard ascended above being “hot” as he went 6-of-6 from 3-point range, adding a pair of free throws for a 20-point half as the Rams shot their way to a 38-36 halftime edge.

“Their other kids hit shots too, Dominick, he just kept hitting shots,” Rams coach Dean Behrens said. “But it was like that with Mike Mol too. Nobody saw Mike Mol hitting six threes and we didn’t think Dominick was going to score at that clip.”

Arcidiacono, young brother of former Villanova point guard Ryan, tied the game 40-40 with 5:36 left in the third quarter. From there, Yoder took over for a stretch, burying a pair of treys and assisting a Jonathan Post bucket for a 48-40 edge, the Rams’ largest lead of the game. Pennridge took a 54-49 lead after three and extended it to seven points when Tyrese Lewis scored to open the final quarter.

Then Arch took over. He did it subtly, bookending five points around another Lewis hoop to cut the lead to four, then after Papeo split free throws, Arcidiacono found Dominick in the corner for the tying 3-pointer with 5:45 left.

“Our thought process was, let’s get up and down the floor and tire him out,” Behrens said. “That didn’t work. We didn’t tire him out. Give that kid credit, he hits foul shot after foul shot, gets in the paint and still had his legs. You could see he still had that pop in his legs and that’s impressive.”

Arcidiacono made it 60-60 with 4:23 to play, then Papeo put Neshaminy up with a long jumper a minute later. With 2:46 remaining in the game, Arcidiacono hit a turnaround shot in the lane for a 64-60 edge, a critical bucket.

“That’s what he does for us and that’s why he’s a Division I point guard,” Neshaminy coach Mark Tingle said. “He stepped up like usual.”

Pennridge’s Tyrese Lewis knocks down Neshaminy’s Chris Arcidiacono as he goes up for a basket during their game on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

The guard has a handful of Division I offers and more are likely to come this winter.

“The whole game was a game of runs, they were hitting their threes at some points and we came back and hit our threes, made some shots to get back in it and made a couple stops on defense,” Arcidiacono said. “The key was when we started getting stops on the defensive end. In the third quarter and really the rest of the game, we were giving up easy layups and threes, so we strapped down a little bit and everyone was playing a lot better.”

Pennridge refused to quit, forcing a couple of late turnovers and Yoder getting the rim at will, cutting the lead down to two with 35 seconds left. Behrens was proud of his team’s fight, especially late in the game but also noted an accumulation of other things like missed free throws and turnovers that helped Neshaminy cut into the lead.

Arcidiacono also noted his team’s rebounding, something Neshaminy had struggled with at times in its first four games. The senior had eight rebounds and also dished six assists while Papeo had four steals.

Yoder and Ryan Warner each had five assists, Post had seven rebounds and Molettiere added two blocks and Warner also had three steals.

“It’s a heck of a high school basketball game, it’s what high school basketball is all about,” Behrens said. “Coach Tingle does a great job with his group. Obviously, Arcidiacono is a great player. He works on his game, he gets better, he’s a good kid. Both teams had a lot of respect for each other and it was a well-run game with both teams playing hard.”

NESHAMINY 72, PENNRIDGE 68
NESHAMINY 19 17 13 23 – 72
PENNRIDGE 17 21 16 14 – 68
Neshaminy: Chris Arcidiacono 10 12-14 34, Anthony Papeo 5 5-6 18, Charles Dominick 6 0-0 16, Pat Campbell 1 0-0 2, Danny Bodine 1 0-0 2. Nonscoring: Cam Jeffers, Greg Deluca, Mike Murray. Totals: 23 17-20 72.
Pennridge: Sean Yoder 9 0-1 20, Michael Molettiere 6 2-2 20, Tyrese Lewis 6 1-4 13, Jonathan Post 2 2-2 6, Brett Henofer 2 0-0 5, Ryan Warner 0 2-2 2, Jake Pestrak 1 0-1 2. Nonscoring: Pat Gillespie. Totals: 26 7-12 68.
3-pointers: N – Dominick 4, Papeo 3, Arcidiacono 2; P – Molettiere 6, Yoder 2, Henofer.

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