FRANCONIA >> With the seconds ticking down, Chris Coleman had no problem being the one with the ball in his hands.
“It’s nice to live for those moments,” he said. “Take that shot. See if you can do it.”
And Coleman came through in the clutch for the North Penn boys basketball Tuesday night. Trailing Souderton by a point, he converted a three-point play off a drive from the right wing with 4.7 seconds left and the visiting Knights held on for a 47-45 Suburban One League Continental Conference victory.
“I felt like I beat my guy off the dribble good enough for me to get to the basket,” Coleman said.
BOYS #BASKETBALL: @Chris_Coleman20 drives, scores & is fouled with 4.7 seconds left 4Q to put @npknightsbball up 46-45 on Souderton. He made the free throw and the Knights held on for a 47-45 victory. pic.twitter.com/71wPXEsxWa
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) January 10, 2018
Coleman collected a game-high 18 points – seven coming in the fourth quarter, which saw Souderton (3-6, 0-3 conference) rally to take a four-point lead only for North Penn (6-4, 2-2) to answer back and claim a fifth consecutive win over the Indians.
“He won one at the buzzer against them here last year, so this is his place,” Knights coach John Conrad said.
Andrew Vince’s corner 3-pointer capped a 10-2 run that gave Souderton a 43-39 lead before three straight points from NP’s David Robinson made it 43-42.
“We had the intensity going through the first half then our intensity faded beginning of the second,” Coleman said. “And we knew we had to pick that up right away, change that.”
Trevor Watts put the Indians up 45-42 but Robinson responded with a turn-around jumper to get NP back within one at 1:57.
The teams traded offensive fouls, then after Souderton came up empty on a drive and a putback, North Penn was called for travelling with 36.8 seconds left. However, a missed front end of a 1-and-1 by the Indians at 23.9 seconds kept it 45-44 and gave the Knights the ball back.
After two Souderton fouls, North Penn inbounded with 12 seconds remaining and Coleman got to the hoop and scored on a left-handed layup, was fouled and made the free throw for a 47-44 lead.
“We talked about they like to drive baseline on that pick-and-roll there. We kind of talked about that and taking that away from them,” Souderton coach Tim Brown said. “But give the credit to Chris Coleman. He’s a quick kid and a great player. But he made a really tough move to the basket and finished well.”
The Indians had a chance before the clock hit zeroes – Tomas Hanrahan’s contested 3-poiner from the right wing rattling off the rim and deflecting off the backboard with Antonio Rodriguez’s putback try coming after the buzzer.
“That’s what we were looking for. Tough shot, it’s a good shoot considering we had three seconds left but tough shot,” Brown said. “And like we said in the locker room, it’s not about that one shot we had so many before that, so he had a good game, he’s got to keep his head high.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) January 10, 2018
Hanrahan had a team-high 14 points while Kavi Ramchandani added 11 points for Souderton, which lost for the fifth straight time in its first game of 2018.
“I think it’s just the schedule. It’s the tough part of our schedule,” Brown said. “I think those first couple wins, we got wins straight off of energy and now when you play the tougher teams you got to execute as well. So I think our execution needs to get better and it will get better.”
Robinson scored 14 points for North Penn, which has won three straight and four of its past five.
“Defensively, I thought we played really well,” Conrad said. “I felt we built the lead with that defensive intensity and then we lost it by kind of getting lazy on both ends. And then we got down four, I thought we dug in, played good defense.”
Both teams stay in SOL Continental play Friday – North Penn hosts Central Bucks South with Souderton visiting Central Bucks West.
The Knights ended the first quarter up 13-8 after a Coleman 3-pointer in the final seconds. A 10-2 second-quarter run capped by back-to-back threes from Joey Lindsay and Coleman gave NP its largest lead at 25-13.
“I thought our spacing was pretty good,” Coleman said. “We were running curls, we were running cuts and we were looking for each other, we were being unselfish.”
Seven straight points from Souderton had Big Red within 25-20 before a Coleman putback had North Penn leading by seven at halftime.
The Indians began the third quarter with a 9-1 run – Hanrahan’s three-point play off a drive giving Souderton a 29-28 lead at 4:18.
Consecutive baskets from Robinson had North Penn back ahead 32-29 before the Indians regained the lead 33-32 on a Watts putback. But the Knights went into the fourth up 35-33 after Tali McIver’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Down 37-33, Watts collected five straight points for a 38-37 Souderton advantage with Hanrahan’s jumper making it 40-37. After a Coleman basket, Vince’s triple gave Big Red its biggest lead at 43-39.