Council Rock South rebounds with a win in Rabberman Tournament (GALLERY)

NORTHAMPTON – Usually, teams use season-opening tournaments to unveil a new look and to establish team chemistry. The Council Rock South boys basketball team accomplished both missions when they hosted the Dick Rabberman Tip-off Tournament during the first week of December.

CR South junior Alex Nordenholt, starting shooting guard for the Golden Hawks, couldn’t wait to get into action. “The week before the tournament, we said ‘this is it. This is what we have been waiting for.’ We came at it a hundred miles per hour.”

The Council Rock fan base definitely shared the team’s excitement. Last year, South finished with a 7-15 overall record. Many of the younger players returned ready to convert their first year’s experience into a productive and winning formula this season.

A junior, Alex certainly reflects the new look Hawks’ positive determination. “We are a very close team. We all have the goal to go far. We are all working towards it. This year, we are going to have a good record. We want to make a playoff run this year. That’s our goal.”


The optimism seemed well-founded as South took on Jenkintown in the opening round game. “We played them last year and they didn’t have anyone graduate. We knew the one kid (Colin) Mulvaney was really good. We knew we had to face guard him a little bit.”

The Hawks jumped out to a 14-11 first quarter lead and extended the margin to 32-25 by halftime. Alex featured prominently in the early going, either driving hard to the hoop or pulling up and shooting from outside.

“I would say I am a point guard and a shooting guard. (Junior) Kevin Newbert is our main point guard. When he’s not in, I play point and when he’s in, I play shooting guard. It fits in with the offense. I can have the ball, play off the ball, or get in the lane and make plays.”

Alex would finish the game with a team high 17 points. Junior Austin Thomas, South’s returning first team All-SOL performer, added 15 points to the Golden Hawk cause. Unfortunately, the team could not hold onto their lead. A furious spurt by Jenkintown senior Mulvaney, who ended up with a game high 25 points, rallied the Drakes to a 75-64 victory.

Disappointed over the loss, Alex saw the game as a learning opportunity. “We tried to limit him (Mulvaney) but he got his. We felt it was a letdown game. When things go wrong, we have to stay positive. We have to stay upbeat. We let ourselves down. Our coach (John Easterly) said we need to improve the mental part of the game, stay positive and have each other’s back. We just lost ourselves in that game.”

The Hawks were determined to apply the coach’s advice in their consolation match-up with New Hope-Solebury. “We came out with a chip on our shoulders because the loss the night before was a terrible feeling for everyone.”

South readjusted their game plan in an effort to take advantage of New Hope’s relative lack of height. “We fed it to our bigs a lot because they don’t have anyone really tall on their team. We used a matchup zone with them.”

With everyone on the bench yelling support and cheering every basket, South entered halftime tied 23-23. This game, the Hawks vowed not to fade. Alex epitomized the focus. “I refused to lose that game. I just did anything I could.”

The reversal of fortune saw the Hawks stage a heroic last quarter surge. Both Alex and Austin Thomas hit clutch three-pointers and netted five points apiece in the final stanza to lead CR South to a 53-49 victory. Mike Stock, a 6-2 senior, nailed 4-of-6 foul shots down the stretch to help ice the victory.

As well as being instructive, the first win of the 2015 campaign gave the Hawk players a needed confidence boost. “It was a great feeling. We felt we could go into the rest of the weekend with a good taste in our mouths. It got us excited for the rest of the season and league play. We were definitely happy with our hustle. We won a lot of 50/50 balls and we took a lot of charges. We still need to communicate more on defense and improve our rebounding.”

Alex, who led his team in scoring with 19 points, good enough to earn him all first team tournament honors, senses this could be the start of a great run. “This could be the good year we haven’t had for a while and were ready for it. We have leaders, size and athleticism.”

You can add to that list drive and experience. With talented performers like Alex providing the spark, this could be the year the Hawks soar.

Jenkintown 75, Council Rock South 67

(Dec. 4 at CR South)

Jenkintown 11 15 23 26 – 75

CR South      14 18 17 18 – 67


Tyler Teufel 3; Mike Stock 10; Austin Thomas 15; Kenny Brightcliffe 5; Ryan McNamee 8; Shaun Smith 3; Kevin Newbert 6; Alex Nordenholt 17.


Frank Sobolewski 16; John Contoudis 2; Mike DiValentino 4; Jameson Kolb 18; Andres Madden 4; Carl Robinson 6; Colin Mulvaney 25.

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