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Kuypers, McCaw clutch late, CB South edges North Penn

TOWAMENCIN >> Nothing seemed to go as planned in the fourth quarter for the Central Bucks South boys basketball team Friday night.

Not even Tommy Kuypers’ go-ahead basket in the final minute.

“I was supposed to come up and set a screen but they were pressuring (Alex Dietz) up top so he just took the lane and they all collapsed on him,” Kuypers said. “Nice dish pass right to me.”

A crossover dribble freed Dietz to get into the lane before finding an open Kuypers inside for a layup to break a 52-52 tie with host North Penn.

Ian McCaw then preserved the two-point lead with a block in the last seconds as the Titans survived the Knights’ fourth-quarter rally to earn a 54-52 Suburban One League Continental Conference victory.

“What I like about my guys, you got eight seniors and they’re experienced. So we’ve seen adversity before,” CB South coach Jason Campbell said. “They played through some of that last year. There might have been games last year where maybe we would have lost that, maybe we would have won it. But you don’t see any of our guys getting down on each other, concern that they were going to lose the game. It was all just a matter of regrouping.”

The Titans were up 43-33 entering the fourth and extended their advantage to 11 at 47-36 before North Penn’s pressure defense fueled a 16-2 run — 12 straight Knight points turning a 49-40 deficit into a 52-49 lead after a Mike Chaffee transition basket.

“We pressed them and we able to kind of get a little energy going,” North Penn coach John Conrad said. “We created some turnovers which helped us on the other end.”

A corner 3-pointer by Cole Prezelski pulled South even at 52 .The teams traded turnovers then after a NP possession came up empty, Kuypers put the Titans ahead off Dietz’s assist.

The Knights did not call a time out and AJ Mitchell tried for the tie on a drive to the hoop, but McCaw came off his man and across to lane to block the layup attempt.

“Ian made a really good quick read there and was able to make the play,” Campbell said. “He’s been outstanding this year.”

The ball of the block went to Dietz, who was fouled with 3.4 seconds remaining. Central Bucks South proceeded to inbounds the ball and run out the remainder of the clock, sealing its third straight win.

“They’re a good basketball team – they’re quick, they’re strong. And I think we’re a good basketball team also,” Conrad said. “Too far to come back, I think we exerted a lot of energy to get back to even and then they made the play down the stretch.”

Kuypers scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the second half while Prezelski posted nine of his 12 points before halftime for the Titans (10-3, 4-1 conference), who joined Pennridge as lone one-loss teams left in SOL Continental play.

“No game’s easy in this conference,” Kuypers said. “Top-to-bottom, I think this is best conference in the SOL cause just every team is really even and we’re expecting a lot of close games like that.”

Chaffee finished with 17 points to pace the Knights (8-4, 3-2), who had their four-game win streak snapped. Mitchell added 13 points while Kolby Barrow came off the bench to score 10 points.

“We had three possessions in the last minute and we didn’t convert on any of them,” Conrad said. “We turned it over once, I don’t remember what we did the second time and the last time it got blocked. We had all that effort to come back and we just didn’t execute offensively.”

The Knights look to bounce back Saturday hosting Downingtown West in a non-league contest at 1:30 p.m. CB South returns to the court 8 p.m. Tuesday at home against Central Bucks West.

The Titans finished the first half Friday with a 14-2 run to lead 29-20 at the break and pushed their advantage to as large as 14 twice in the third quarter – the second time at 37-23 on a McCaw bucket.

North Penn collected the next seven points to get with 37-30 on two Mitchell free throws at 1:09 before Kuypers knocked down a triple to put South up 10. Mitchell answered with a three but Kuypers hit again from beyond the arc, making it 43-33 at the end of the quarter.

“Shooting the ball really well. His 3-point shoot is back to where it should be,” said Campbell of Kuypers. “And he has a good mid-range game, he can post up. He’s a tough person to guard.”

A Bryce Prezelski basket gave the Titans a 47-36 lead in the fourth. South was up nine at 49-40 after two from Mark Kannengieszer,  but the Knights began to force turnovers off its pressing and ripped off 12 straight points to take its first lead since 18-16 in the second quarter.

A Chaffee 3-pointer made it 49-45 while a Mitchell breakaway layup had NP within two. After a backcourt steal by the Knights, Barrow’s three put North Penn ahead 50-49. Chaffee’s basket increased the lead to 52-49.

But the NP momentum was halted when Cole Prezelski hit a three from the right corner to knot the score at 52.

“I thought Cole Prezelski was huge,” Kuypers said. “Went down three, I think, and that place was as loud as I’ve ever heard it. And then he came down, hit a huge three, silenced the whole place and that’s when we found our rhythm again at the end.”

Central Bucks South was up 12-5 in the first quarter before baskets from Chaffee and Barrow made it 12-9 after the opening eight minutes.

A Chaffee 3-pointer gave the Knights their first lead at 15-14. Barrow’s three had NP ahead 18-15 before the Titans ran off 11 straight points — Kuypers’ baseline jumper giving the visitors a 26-18 advantage.

Matt Swanson’s putback got the Knights within six but Cole Prezelski’s three-point play with 2.3 seconds left gave the Titans a 29-20 lead at halftime.

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