Senior-laden Jenkintown defeats Lansdale Catholic

When looking at Jenkintown’s basketball team there’s nothing physically imposing about them. Their biggest player is maybe 6-foot-2 and their top “forward”, Carl Robinson, is one the best three point shooters, percentage wise, and just started to get varsity reps last year when he was junior.

As the Drakes took the floor Friday night against Lansdale Catholic they were giving up height at just about every position on the court. Fortunately for Jenkintown it takes more than height to put the ball in the basket and the Drakes were able to do it more times than the Crusaders as they held on to a fourth quarter lead to earn a 43-37 win.

“Our guard play is obviously our strong suit,” Jenkintown coach Wes Emme said. “Even our five man, Carl Robinson, is a position-less player. Between him and Jameson Kolb they’re our two best three point shooters. That kind of position-less basketball allows us to have a lot of fluidity in our offense.”

Lansdale Catholic opened the game with a quick 6-0 run. The opening run seemed to be wake up call for Jenkintown as it attacked the Crusaders on the offensive and defensive end as the Drakes immediately countered the LC opening run with a 8-0 run of its own.

Although Jenkintown might not have much height, it has heart and experience, lots of it. The Drakes starting five Friday night consisted of four seniors.

Point guard Frank Sobolewski, while not a great scorer, does just about everything else. He’s a smart decision maker and good passer and on the defensive end is responsible for guarding the other team’s best player almost on a nightly basis.

“Frank’s role changes from game to game,” Emme said. “To be a really great team you have to be a chameleon. You have to be able to disguise what you are and adapt to what you are playing against. You’re going to have to be able to win against zone, win against man and win against pressure.”

Making up for Sobolewski’s lack of scoring is senior shooting guard/forward Colin Mulvaney. After eclipsing the 1,000 point mark a year ago Mulvaney will leave the Jenkintown program as the schools second all- time leading scorer. When the game hits crunch time Mulvaney might as well have a sign around his neck that says ‘I’m shooting’ because chances are he is and chances are he’s going to make it or he’s going to the free throw line.

While Mulvaney was held to only five points in the first half Friday he turned it on in the second scoring 11 of his game high 16 points. Mulvaney was aggressive attacking the trees of the LC defense as he went to the line eight times in the second half, six times in the fourth quarter.

“Colin is super confident and his confidence and his aggression are his two best traits,” Emme said. “It’s become infectious. I don’t want to draw parallels but you see it in the NBA all time and you see it with great players in college basketball when you have a really, really super confident player it becomes infectious with everybody else.”

Senior guard Andres Madden and junior Jameson Kolb rounds out the starting lineup for the Drakes two guys that have experience and grittiness. Madden particularly brings an aggressiveness and tenacious attitude for the game.

While all players have their own niche and role on the team they showed Friday night why collectively they are a tough team.

As the fourth quarter hit Jenkintown was protecting a seven point lead. The Drakes went a little too conservative failing to register a field goal in the final quarter but the seasoned savvy Drakes iced the game on the defensive end and while they too tentative on the offensive end they were smart, protecting the ball, taking good shots, running clock and getting to the line, all signs of a team that has been there before. Signs of a senior leaden team. Signs of the good team.

“We didn’t want to score quick because that gives them an opportunity to come down get fouled and stop the clock,” Emme said. “We wanted to run clock but to their credit they had their big guys kind of be rim protectors. But we made just enough plays and just enough free throws to get it done. We shot 26 percent and won against a Catholic League opponent. I’m happy.”

The Drakes improves their record to 4-1 with some impressive wins to speak of already but Jenkintown knows it’s a long season that’s going to start with Bicentennial Athletic League play coming up. The Drakes want to accomplish some lofty goals this year with the first one being to the win the league title something Jenkintown hasn’t done since 1981.

“We would love to get a conference championship,” Emme said. “Obviously a district title is right up there. Having that experience last year left a sour taste in our mouths and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t. I don’t want to limit this team. Those are obviously two goals but once those two things are up I don’t want to limit this team and say they can’t make a run in the state tournament.”

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