Pennridge defeats Lower Merion, takes fifth in District 1-AAAA

EAST ROCKHILL — After finding itself trailing by nine points at halftime of Wednesday’s playback game against Methacton, Pennridge found a way to mount a comeback against the Warriors to force one more home contest for the Rams as they took on perennial District 1-AAAA contender Lower Merion for the fifth seed in the district.

The Rams found themselves down yet again at halftime, this time though, just a marginal one-point differencial at the break. Pennridge once again found its mojo in the third quarter, outscoring the Aces 12-0 in the frame, eventually leading to winning the half 33-10 and the game 58-36.

“I just think we realize it’s time to turn it on,’ Rams guard Joe Molettiere said. “We always go into close games at halftime and we realize sometimes we can out play teams.’

The difference for Pennridge (24-4) in the second half of Friday’s contest was a more consistent job rebounding the ball, particularly in the defensive end and containing Lower Merion’s top scorer Jule Brown. Once the Rams cleaned up their rebounding and remained consistent on hounding the Ace shooters it was very difficult for Lower Merion to get a bucket.

“We did a poor job in the first half of rebounding on the defensive end,’ Pennridge coach Dean Behrens said. “We did a great job on the offensive rebounds, we did a poor job on the defensive end rebounding.’

The Rams’ offense was once again led by the trio of Molettiere, Dan Long and Zach Muredda, the three accounting for all but eight of Pennridge’s points with Long scoring a game-high 18 points.

“It comes down to all the other guys,’ Molettiere said of the trio’s success offensively. “(Joe Unangst) plays great defense, Ryan Cuthbert plays great defense and they get us the ball and get us in good spots. I think that’s the best part, we have good team chemistry and that helps us win games.’

With the way Pennridge is playing right now it would not come as much of a surprise if it was able to grab a couple wins in the PIAA playoffs. But regardless of their results in states, there is no other way to categorize this season as anything but a success.  The Rams are making their first state playoff appearance and lay claim to being the fifth-best team in District 1-AAAA.

“It’s great,’ Molettiere said. “This doesn’t happen at Pennridge. Ever. I think that’s just a (testament) to our guys especially our seniors that gelled us a lot.’

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