FRANCONIA >> Down three in the final minute of the fourth quarter, Souderton’s boys basketball team inbounded the ball and hunted for a shot.
The Indians never got the shot off, instead turning the ball over after almost 30 seconds of working it around. It didn’t lose them the game, but it was an especially pivotal turnover in a night where they plagued the Indians against visiting Central Bucks East.
With neither team playing up to par, the Patriots took advantage of turnover-prone Souderton and left with a 45-40 win Friday night.
“What hurt us was definitely turnovers,” Indians coach Tim Brown said. “It comes down to a lack of execution on our part and that’s on me. I have to get these guys executing in practice so it translates onto the floor. We’re going to change some things up and we’ll get it right.”
Souderton had some stretches where it played really good basketball. The issue was, the Indians couldn’t sustain them, usually with turnovers bringing those spells to an end. Big Red gave the ball away 17 times on Friday, which certainly helped keep CB East in the game.
The Indians got six points off the bench from Andrew Vince in the first quarter and finished with an Antonio Rodriguez tip-in to close on a 6-0 run and 10-7 lead. Rodriguez got hot in the second quarter, scoring eight straight points by himself to put Souderton ahead 18-10 and forcing CB East to call a timeout with 5:22 left in the half.
Over the remainder of the second quarter, the Indians did not score and five of their final seven possessions ended with a turnover.
“It’s that lack of execution, every time we’d go on a run, we’d have two turnovers and that hurts,” Brown said. “All the guys feel that and it has a lasting effect over the game.”
Despite CB East closing the half on a 6-0 run, Brown said the Indians were still content to be up 18-16 given how poorly they had played in the first 16 minutes. That was provided the team cleaned things up and started to execute in the second half.
In the locker room down the hall, the Patriots were feeling a surge in momentum after slogging through the first half.
“Right now, we’re playing intelligent basketball but I don’t think we did that in the first half,” East coach Erik Henrysen said. “We figured some things out as we went along and toward the end of the game, making foul shots is always helpful. Our guys don’t panic typically and we continue to play for each other.”
East re-gained the lead at 25-23, but couldn’t hold it as Souderton’s Tomas Hanrahan took control of the third quarter. The senior, who was plugged into the starting lineup for the game, started handling the ball more and scored nine of his 12 points in the third quarter.
A buzzer-beating jumper by Mitchell Finkenbeiner to end the frame put Souderton up 35-29, but East wasn’t in a terrible position. Throughout the second half, East players attacked the rim relentlessly and the Patriots got into the bonus with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
“We were sucking wind but we just found a way to win,” Henrysen said. “We were in the one-and-one and if we played tough on the defensive end and got a couple rebounds, we could gut it out.”
East forward Nick Roggio didn’t feel well during the game and sat the entire fourth quarter. While he’s a player the Patriots want on the floor, his absence did help them in a way on Friday.
The Patriots went 17-of-21 at the line and 9-of-12 in the fourth quarter while Souderton attempted just seven free throws all game.
“He put five guys on the floor that could spread us out and get to the rack,” Brown said. “We had trouble staying in front of guys, we got in foul trouble and that’s exactly what CB East wants you to do. Once they started getting to the line, it wasn’t good for us.”
East point guard Jesse Rivera played a huge part in the Patriots’ rally down the stretch. The co-captain pulled East within 40-39 on a baseline drive with 2:57 left, then hit five of six at the foul line to put the Patriots up and then extend their lead out to 44-40.
Souderton’s turnover with 14.4 left down 43-40 basically put an end to their attempts to tie the game but the Indians also failed to come up with a score on two prior possessions.
The Indians travel to West Chester Rustin next week after starting 0-2 in the SOL Continental. Brown however, still believes strongly in his guys and noted their three-game win streak earlier as proof they have it in them to be a solid team.
“We’re 3-3, so we’re alright,” Brown said. “It comes down to us having to start executing in the close games.”
CENTRAL BUCKS EAST 45, SOUDERTON 40
CB EAST 7 9 13 16 – 45
SOUDERTON 10 8 17 5 – 40
CBE – Ben Markowitz 3 5-6 12, Jesse Rivera 2 7-9 11, Kyle Cassidy 2 4-4 10, Nick Roggio 3 0-0 7. Nonscoring: Leo Masterson, Collin Wright, Dillon Bergmann. Totals: 12 17-21 45
S – Tomas Hanrahan 4 4-6 12, Antonio Rodriguez 4 0-0 10, Trevor Watts 3 0-0 6, Andrew Vince 3 0-1 6, Kavi Ramchandani 2 0-0 4, Mitchell Finkenbeiner 1 0-0 2. Nonscoring: Stephen Luchansky, Dom Natale. Totals: 17 4-7 40
3-pointers: CBE – Cassidy 2, Markowitz, Roggio; S – Rodriguez 2.
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