Pennsbury boys basketball pulls away from Council Rock North in second half (VIDEO)

NEWTOWN – Council Rock North is known for its defensive prowess on the basketball court. The Indians set a school record for the lowest points allowed by a Rock team.

Pennsbury is no slouch on the defensive end of the game, however. The Falcons proved it with a 43-30 triumph over CR North Tuesday night (Dec. 15) in Newtown.

“We missed some shots that we normally make and Pennsbury really made it tough on us,” stated Indians head coach Derek Wright. “You have to give them credit; they sped us up and forced some tough shots early.”

Both teams came out with a staunch defensive posture in this one. Neither team scored until 6-8 junior Mark Flagg hit a putback and the and-one at the 4:14 mark of the first period. Council Rock’s first points came on a putback by senior Will Desautelle after more than five minutes had elapsed from the game clock.

After the  sides hit for a combined four field goals in the first quarter – a period that saw North make just two of its eight shots and Pennsbury shoot just 2-of-11 – the score was deadlocked at 5-all.

The second quarter saw a little more scoring from both teams, though not much more. Both the Indians and the Falcons shot 33 percent from the floor in the second stanza and Pennsbury went into the locker room with a slight 14-12 edge.

Flagg – who led all scorers with 17 points – hit for 10 of the Falcons’ 14 points in the first half.

“We just came out pretty slow. We didn’t get into the sets that we wanted and the energy wasn’t really there at all,” said Pennsbury senior Rob Daly. “We were able to pull it out with some of the guys that we have. Mark stepped up really big when we needed it and it was a good win.”

Also stepping up for the Falcons in the second period was junior Joey Monaghan. The 6-4 forward hit an early putback then followed that up with a couple of free throws to give Pennsbury an 11-10 lead – one it would not relinquish – midway through the second quarter.

Monaghan was in for 6-8 junior power forward Isaiah Carpenter, who was flagged for a pair of offensive fouls less than two-and-a-half minutes into the contest.

Back from an offseason finger injury that limited his shooting ability, CR North senior Riley Thompson hit a driving layup following a 3-pointer by sophomore Matt McAlister, giving the Indians a 10-7 edge earlier in the period.

“He was fearless tonight. I think that he did all that he could,” said Wright. “He played hard. But he’s got to get his basketball legs under him.

“He’s had one full practice with us. Even though he’s been doing conditioning, nothing is like the speed of the game, especially when you are playing probably one of the best defenses in District One.”

Coming back from the intermission, the Falcons hit the first seven points on a pair of layups and a free throw by Carpenter along with a putback by classmate Addison Howard. Ahead by nine points less than two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, Pennsbury maintained that edge throughout the third quarter with Carpenter and Howard combining on 10 of the Falcons’ 14 points in the period.

When it was all over, Desautelle explained North’s defensive strategy heading into the contest.

“We couldn’t really try to run up and down the court with them,” said Rock’s 6-3 senior captain. “If we did that, they were going to blow us out and score a lot of points on us.

“The first half, we did a good job on defense but we missed a couple shots we normally make.

“The second half, they just made an early run then got to the free throw line and that was really difference.”

When Pennsbury got to the foul line in the fourth quarter, the Falcons made shots with Flagg leading the way, hitting 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Junior Corey Dea also came through, making 4-of-6 free throws. And Howard, after missing three shots from the foul line to start the game, made both of his tosses.

Eleven of Pennsbury’s fourth-quarter points came on free throws. In contrast, Council Rock missed three of its five foul shots in the final frame and went just 3-for-10 from the stripe in the game.

“Three-for-10 from the free throw line doesn’t help,” said Wright “We should be going at least 7-for-10. In a close game like this with few points scored, every free throw matters.”

Quarterback Mike Alley hit the Falcons’ only shot from the floor in the fourth period, a putback layup that gave Pennsbury a 32-19 edge with 5:46 remaining in the contest.

After the game, while admitting that he thought a low-scoring battle would favor his Indians, Wright gave props to Pennsbury’s defense.

“They were leaving a guy (open) to double the ball, and rotating guys to trap and speed us up a little bit,” explained the coach. “That got us out of our comfort zone.

“And because they had size in the paint, if you get beat off the dribble, it’s OK because they have a shot-blocker to challenge our guys.”

After starting the season with three straight wins including a 60-39 victory over Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference rival William Tennent Dec. 11 at WT, North falls to 3-1, 1-1 in the SOL National.

The Falcons, meanwhile, push to 4-1 overall on the season, 2-0 in the SOL National including a 42-36 league-opening triumph over defending SOL and District 1 champion Abington, a team that beat Pennsbury four times last season. The Falcons entered the game at Rock North coming off a heartbreaking 53-51 loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh Dec. 12 at Archbishop Wood.

In that game, Pennsbury junior Tyler Sessa-Reeves hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 51-all and while Xzavier Malone missed an ensuing jump shot for the Colonials, Ahmin Williams hit the putback with three seconds left for a win that favored P-W.

NOTES: These two teams meet again Jan. 19 at Pennsbury.

Contact the author at, or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

Pennsbury 43, Council Rock North 30

(Dec. 15 at CR North)

Pennsbury 5 9 14 15 – 43

CR North  5 7 7 11 – 30

CR NORTH — Riley Thompson 6, Tyler Nowmos 2, Matt McAlister 3, Will Desautelle 13, Ryan Costello 6; TOTALS: 12 3-10 30.

3-POINT GOALS — Costello 2, McAlister.

PENNSBURY — Vaughan Ward 2, Tyler Sessa-Reeves 2, Joey Monaghan 4, Addison Howard 7, Mark Flagg 17, Corey Dea 4, Isaiah Carpenter 5, Mike Alley 2; TOTALS: 13 16-24 43.

3-POINT GOALS — Howard.


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