UPPER MERION >> It was about nine months ago that the Upper Merion boys basketball team shocked the world by ousting Chester en route to a PIAA playoff run that ended just short of a state title.
But oh what a difference a season makes.
This year the Vikings had been winless through their first six games.
So Saturday afternoon’s 52-44 win over Jenkintown was a welcome sight.
Matt Choi had 10 points, Austin Mower and Chris Clark each added nine and Tyjay Shepherd had eight as the Vikings got out on top and never looked back.
The hearty Drakes made it interesting, pulling within four points late in the game.
But the Vikings prevailed, a fact that pleased head coach Jason Quenzer.
“It really hasn’t been too frustrating,” Quenzer said after win numero uno. “Over our first six games, everybody we played was over .500, so we’ve been pleased with the way we’ve been playing.
“I mean, this is a team with virtually no (varsity) experience.”
Jenkintown is a team in the same boat, although head coach Wes Emme is used to the frustration.
The Vikings (1-6, 0-3 PAC Frontier) broke out on top as Choi and Mower pushed the team out to a 19-11 lead after one quarter and a 28-17 lead at the half.
The Drakes (0-6, 0-3 BAL Constitution) made a run early in the second half to trim the deficit to six, but Upper Merion stayed on top thanks, in part, to the scoring of Chris Clark and Choi.
The Vikings exhaled in the fourth quarter and it very nearly cost them, as the Drakes whittled their deficit to four.
But Clark and Choi made enough free throws down the stretch to fortify and even build the lead.
Upper Merion 52, Jenkintown 44
Jenkintown (44) – Trevor Brockwell 1 5-6 8; Cade Lafferty 1 0-1 2; Kyle Lam 1 2-4 5; Morrin 5 0-0 10; Edwin Foley 2 2-5 6; Jacob Schwartz 1 0-0 3; Jadan Welch 4 0-2 9. Totals: 15 9-18 44.
Upper Merion (52) – Nick Lindelow 2 0-0 6; Tyjay Shepherd 3 1-2 8; Lucus Kim 1 0-0 3; Matt Choi 2 5-6 10; Eric Moore 1 0-0 2; Austin Mower 3 2-3 9; John Eyer 1 1-2 3; Nick Shepperd 0 0-1 0; Chris Clark 1 7-9 9; KJ Pugh 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 16-23 52.
3-point goals: Brockwell; Lam; Schwartz; Welch; Lindelow 2; T.Shepherd; Kim; Choi; Mower.
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