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McCusker’s career night lifts CB West over North Penn

Central Bucks West’s Shane McCusker stumbles over North Penn’s AJ Catanzaro. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

TOWAMENCIN >> Friday night’s game between Central Bucks West and North Penn wasn’t in doubt very often, but when it was, Bucks guard Shane McCusker came through.

The senior scored a career-high 26 points in West’s 67-51 Suburban One League Continental Conference win at North Penn High School.

He scored 14 points in the first quarter to help the Bucks (4-1, 2-0) build a 26-10 advantage. He hit five shots in the quarter — four from three-point land — and made it look effortless.

“They were feeding me the ball, I just kept shooting,” McCusker said. “Kept getting easy looks. My coach told me, ‘If you’re going to score a lot of points, it should be easy,’ and it felt easy tonight. My teammates were looking to find me and once I started scoring I got the defenses spread out and it opened it up for other people.”

“We’ve been really getting killed on penetration, so we were really focused on taking away penetration first,” North Penn coach John Conrad said. “I think McCusker made six threes in the first half. We knew the scouting report, it was just one of those nights.”

Central Bucks Wests’ Collin MacAdams drives for the basket between North Penn defenders during their game on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

The Knights (2-3, 0-2) didn’t narrow the gap until it was a 10-point game, 57-47, midway through the fourth quarter.

That’s when McCusker came through again.

The Bucks were cycling the ball around the perimeter to run clock and McCusker was seemingly the only one who wanted to add to the lead. Sandwiched between two big defensive rebounds, McCusker drove to the basket and drew a foul to extend the lead to 12 and, on the next possession, dribbled into the lane for a pull-up jumper to make it 61-47.

“I felt it getting too close,” he said. “I needed to take matters into my own hands and just seal the win.”

Between McCusker’s monster first quarter and closing plays, it was Collin MacAdams keeping the Bucks comfortably ahead. He scored 15 of his 21 points in the middle two quarters to go along with 11 rebounds and five assists.

North Penn’s David Robinson puts up a shot past Central Bucks West’s Jack Neri during their game on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Jack Mulhearn added 12 points — on four three-pointers — for the Bucks and Jake Reichwein scored eight.

David Robinson led the Knights with 17 points and Nathan Hartman joined him in double figured with 13.

North Penn played to an even 41-41 score over the final 24 minutes, but the 16-point first-quarter deficit was too much to overcome.

“(West) just got off to a quick start,” Conrad said. “We’ve been slow starters the last couple of games. These teams are too good to dig your way out.”

It’s still early in the season, but the win improves CB West’s SOL Continental record to 2-0 and the loss drops North Penn’s to 0-2.

North Penn’s David Robinson breaks between Central Bucks West’s Collin Mac Adams and Mika Munari during their game on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

“It’s big having a 2-0 record going into break,” McCusker said. “Now we go down to Nashville to play some good competition. We’ll see how it goes there.”

“I’m more worried about how we’re playing,” Conrad said. “Last two games I was not pleased with our effort. Tonight I thought we battled right down to the end. I was happy about that.”

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