Gnias, Spring-Ford stay unbeaten in PAC, top OJR

BUCKTOWN >> For the second consecutive year Spring-Ford controls its own destiny.

If Tuesday night serves as any indication, the Rams aren’t looking to repeat the failures that beset them the tail end of 2014.

Matt Gnias went off for a game-high 27 points and four 3-pointers as the Rams (8-0 PAC-10, 12-4 overall) snapped Owen J. Roberts’ four-game winning streak and moved another step closer to clinching a PAC-10 playoff berth with a dominating 64-45 victory Tuesday night.

“We lost two to these guys last year and it was one of those things where we wanted to make sure that it didn’t happen again this year,” Spring-Ford head coach Chris Talley said. “To their credit, they have some big kids, they have good guards and they play hard. We were concerned about coming here and playing in front of a hostile environment — they have a great student section here — so it was good for us to get out of here with a win.”

The win gives the Rams a season sweep over OJR, a reversal of last season where the Wildcats took both games, including a victory that capped Spring-Ford’s forgettable 2014 season where it lost a 1½ game lead to Boyertown for the No. 2 seed in the Liberty Division in the last two weeks of PAC-10 play.

Now, afforded by Gnias’ big game and a staunch effort on the offensive glass, the Rams have seen their fortunes reversed, as the team only needs a win against Methacton coupled by a loss from Boyertown or Perkiomen Valley to clinch a Final Four position.

“Our mind-set is to just play hard and play each game like it’s our last,” Gnias said. “We come out wanting to play 100 percent on the offensive and defensive end of the court.”

The senior’s effort was a direct representation of his team’s goals. Gnias took off after a four-point first quarter, scoring 20 points with four 3-pointers in the second and third quarters, as the Rams expanded on a 24-20 lead midway through the second into a comfortable 54-36 margin by the end of the third. Cam Reid and Charles Drummond each added nine points for the Rams, which didn’t see their lead fall below 10 the entire second half.

“Matt’s a rock,” Talley said. “He just doesn’t stop. He wears guards down as the game goes on. He’s fun to watch especially when he’s on. He plays just as hard on the defensive end too, which is what I care about the most.”

The guard’s play outshined the play from OJR’s Mitch Bradford, who finished with 10 points. Dawson Stuart was the other Wildcat to figure in double figures, finishing with 11 in the loss which puts OJR (3-5 PAC-10) a game back from Boyertown and Perkiomen Valley for the No. 2 seed in the Liberty Division.

“They’re a really good team,” OJR head coach Kevin Kirby said of Spring-Ford. “They have a lot of talent and they’re really well coached. Chris does a great job. When Gnias scores 27 it’s going to be tough. He made a lot of tough shots, some long 3s.

“I thought we did some good things, Mitch hit some jumpers which was good to see. They just got us on some offensive rebounds, got us in transition a bit, they were just better than we were tonight.”

OJR fought back from an early 11-2 deficit to pull within seven at the end of one before Bobby Walker and Avery McDougal sparked the Wildcats’ offensive that pulled them within four midway through the second. After that however, Gnias took off, scoring six of Spring-Ford’s next eight points to give the Rams a 37-26 lead at the break before torching OJR in the third, hitting for nine of his 11 points in the opening five minutes, highlighted by a 3-pointer from the top of the key and a contested three from the wing. His contested shot, set up by JT Cuthbertson’s hustle play as he saved the ball before going out of bounds, gave the Rams their biggest advantage of the night, 54-34.

It was more than enough.

NOTES >> McDougal finished with seven points in the loss for OJR, which plays Boyertown Friday. … The 19-point loss was the worst margin of defeat for OJR this season.


Owen J. Roberts81810945


0Charles Drummond31229
3Nigel Cooke32208
10Ryan Fitzpatrick10013
13Matt Gnias7911427
14Danny Zack20004
21Nestor Diaz20004
23Cameron Reid40019
33Charles Scalies00000
12Stone Scarcelle00000
22JT Cuthbertson00000
24Adam Geremski00000
41Ben Payonk00000

Owen J. Roberts

2Mitch Bradford500010
3Bobby Walker20015
4Shyheed May01301
5Austin Koury10002
10Justin Cervi00000
11Sean Praweckyj14606
12Matt Lewis00000
14Dawson Stuart525012
24Sa’Vaughn Davidheiser10102
32Jake Vondercrone00000
33Justin Bailey00000
35Avery McDougal31207
25Jake Umstead00000
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