FALLS TOWNSHIP – Missing senior Jake Martell, who led Pennsbury’s scoring effort in its weekend win over Pocono Mountain West, the Falcons received bursts of infusion from up and down the lineup facing Suburban One National League rival Council Rock South Tuesday night (Jan. 9) on its home court.
The result was a convincing 51-34 triumph over the visiting Golden Hawks, Pennsbury’s fifth win of the season. The Falcons got off to a significant 20-3 edge in the first period on its way to its first victory this year against a league foe.
“We have a lot of people sick so I was a little worried,” admitted Pennsbury head coach Bill Coleman. “Everyone is fighting off some kind of a bug.
“When we came out with a lot of energy, it was good to see.”
Pennsbury used an early press to gain an advantage over the Hawks. The Falcons were ahead 13-3 when CR South called a timeout to regroup midway through the initial frame. Instead of energizing the Hawks, Pennsbury sophomore Cooper Arnold used the breather to gather himself – enough to add seven straight points off the bench.
Cooper started the string with a 3-pointer followed by a steal and an ensuing easy layup. He capped his personal 7-point run with a pair of made free throws after drawing a foul on a putback attempt.
Arnold added eight points to the team’s recent 59-56 win over Pocono Mountain.
“We’re very young and inexperienced in spots,” added Coleman. “Cooper has stepped up over the last three or four games and contributed.
“He’s a sophomore but he’s starting to learn what it takes to compete at a varsity level.”
Seniors Josh Arruda and junior Gary Francis tallied the first 13 points, helping the Falcons to an early edge.
“If we score, it allows our press to get torqued up a little bit – the intensity of it.”
Despite possessing a 20-3 lead with 3:21 remaining in the first period, Pennsbury saw its edge practically evaporate when CR South answered with a 16-point run of its own.
Trailing 20-7 after one quarter, the Hawks got field goals by seniors Kyle Meakim and Trey Irvin – who canned a 3-pointer 90 seconds into the second period – and late baskets by seniors Esteban Gomez and Christian Jabbar to draw within a point with two minutes remaining in the first half.
“We had a good start but we cooled off a lot when they went to the zone,” admitted Coleman.
“Our shooters were out there but I think the lack of school yesterday and some rust, maybe, caught up to us a little bit today.”
The Falcons shot 1-for-11 in the second period. Only a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior Raylil Winton kept Pennsbury from being shut out in the second quarter.
“That was huge,” said Coleman. “He got that three off and he made it and that kind of set the tone the rest of the way.”
Coming back from the intermission, the Falcons picked things up, posting an early 8-4 scoring run, an offensive burst that was capped by senior Chad Weldon’s putback basket that put Pennsbury up 31-23 three and a half minutes into the third quarter.
CR South answered with buckets by seniors Zach Schade and Simon Magidenko, cutting its deficit to six. But the Falcons came back with another putback by Weldon a fast-break basket by sophomore Collin Connor and 1-of-2 free throws by Winton to extend their lead to 10 going into the final frame.
Weldon’s second basket in the quarter was a dunk, though he was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Jabbar made just 1-of-2 of the foul shots however and Schade was also called for a charge in the ensuing moments – just some of several miscues by the Golden Hawks in this game.
Leading 38-28 after three quarters, Pennsbury extended its edge to 14 points on a pair of free throws by Connor and two more by Weldon.
Connor led the Falcons in second half scoring with a dozen points. He scored nine in the team’s win over Pocono Mountain.
“He’s one of the better shooters in the area and one of the better players, honestly,” said Coleman. “For the young guys, it’s a matter of confidence.
“We’re trusting them with playing time and hopefully that translates into confidence and making shots.
“He got to the free throw line quite a few times in the second half and he made a ‘three’ so that was big.”
Baskets by Irvin and Schade along with a one-handed mid-range jumper by Jabbar helped CR South close the gap to eight points with 4:30 remaining in regulation
After shooting just 4-for-9 from the foul line in the third period, Pennsbury closed the win out by canning 11 of its last 12 free throws.
“We got to the bonus early in the second half,” said Coleman. “And we started settling there for a little bit. South is always going to bait you to take those easy shots.
“I called a timeout and said ‘guys, we’re in the bonus, and there’s plenty of time left. Let’s start getting to the foul line. They finally figured it out.”
Arruda also found Francis under the basket for an easy layup and Gary came down with a huge defensive rebound with three minutes left.
On the other side of the court, South continued to experience problems, offensively. Schade was called for another charge and Irvin was tagged for traveling. Turnovers also plagued the Hawks’ cause as the Falcons finished the game with steals by Winton and Arruda.
From here, Pennsbury travels to CR North 7 p.m. Thursday night then heads to CB East where it will face the Patriots (8-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the SOL Challenge. Meanwhile, CR South will host Bensalem 7 p.m. Thursday then head to the SOL Challenge Saturday at William Tennent where it will face SOL American Conference rival Cheltenham at 3 p.m.
The Owls are 4-4 and are coming off wins over Truman and CB South. The Panthers are 7-3 coming off of wins over Wissahickon and Upper Moreland. All three of their losses have come against Philadelphia Catholic League foes.
Pennsbury 51, Council Rock South 34
(Jan. 9 at Pennsbury)
CR South 7 12 9 6 – 34
Pennsbury 20 3 15 13 – 51
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH (2-6, 1-2 SOL) — Trey Irvin 7, Kyle Meakim 2, Christian Jabbar 6, Kevin McNamee 2, Simon Magidenko 4, Estaban Gomez 4, Zach Schade 6, Spencer Haun 3; TOTALS — 13 6-15–34.
PENNSBURY (5-5, 1-2 SOL) — Collin Connor 12, Raylil Winton 9, Josh Arruda 7, Chad Weldon 6, Kyrie Miller 2, Cooper Arnold 7, Gary Francis 8; TOTALS — 13 21-28–51.
3-POINT GOALS: CRS — Irvin, Jabbar; P — Connor, Winton, Arruda, Arnold.