Hill School fends off Perkiomen School, 61-41

PENNSBURG >> It’s been a good and growing season for Hill School, one not without its valleys, but Wednesday afternoon the Rams added a phase to their game that could help them peak at the proper time – the playoffs.

John Strickler - Digital First Media Hill's School's J. Stankeliunas grabs loose ball against Perkiomen School's Bryce Noel and Martynas Smanavicius.
John Strickler – Digital First Media
Hill’s School’s J. Stankeliunas grabs loose ball against Perkiomen School’s Bryce Noel and Martynas Smanavicius.

The origin of the addition was during a tough loss to Mid-Atlantic Prep League rival Blair Academy recently. The Rams were up 11 points in the fourth quarter, but missed some free throws and found themselves down five with a minute and change to go. They needed to start pressing.

“We don’t press a lot as a team. We haven’t played full-court almost at all this season, and you’ve got to have some kind of ability to trap and press and turn a team over, get the ball back,” Hill School coach Seth Eilberg said. “We’re just not very good at that yet, so we’re trying to trap out of some different things and work on it this week.”

The Rams lost in overtime to Blair, but Wednesday they incorporated the full-court press from the start at Perkiomen School and it helped them finish the Panthers off early. Taking an 8-0 lead and increasing it to 24-13 after the first eight minutes, the Rams cruised to a 61-41 victory.

“We were able to turn them over early, but it’s something we’ve got to work on a lot more,” Eilberg said.

Talented senior guard Seth Stankiewicz, who led the Rams with 16 points, said the extra practice spent on the press, often a 1-2-1-1, paid off.

“We wanted to work on our press,” he said. “We’ve been working on it the past few days in practice, so this was a good game to implement that. It needs a little work, but we did OK today.”

“It was the first time using the press we did today,” added forward Chase Audige, “and it worked against this team, so we’ve got to keep getting better at it.”

Audige produced a big “wow” moment in the first quarter, one worthy of SportsCenter top 10 plays of the day consideration. Rising high left of the basket and cradling a lob pass from Daquan Morris, Audige, in Russell Westbrook sidewinder style, rammed in the dunk after catching the ball at about hip level. The crowd let out a collective “Ohhh!” and buzzed for a solid minute.

“We can all finish,” Audige smiled.

The Rams improved to 11-5 overall as they ready for their regular-season conference finale against Mercersburg, followed by three non-league games and then the MAPL tournament Feb. 12-14.

Despite the tough start Wednesday, Perkiomen School (7-4), which leads the Tri-County League at 4-0, kept playing hard. Leading the way for the Panthers was guard Martynas Simanavicius. He scored 18 points, hitting four threes and driving hard to the hoop.

John Strickler - Digital First Media Perkiomen School's Joshua Cruz and Jaren Hampton battle Hill School's S. Ruddell for rebound in first half.
John Strickler – Digital First Media
Perkiomen School’s Joshua Cruz and Jaren Hampton battle Hill School’s S. Ruddell for rebound in first half.

Hill School, balanced all season, got nine points from Bryce Allen, eight from Audige and Jack Woepke, and seven from Morris.

A corner three by Stankiewicz and a nice two-man break, with Allen dishing to Morris for a layup, got the Rams going at the outset of the second quarter. Perkiomen School got two threes in the second quarter from Miles Longstreth, but those were the Panthers’ only buckets in the period. A fast-break follow inside by Jonas Stakeliunas gave the Rams a 38-20 halftime lead.
Stankiewicz started the second half with a three and a conventional three-point play off a steal.

“It starts on defense, then we get out and run and get easy transition buckets,” Stankiewicz said.

“It’s just a fun time when we run,” Audige said.

The hope the big fun is ahead, in the MAPL playoffs.

“We feel like we’re improving,” Stankiewicz said. “And hopefully that continues to the playoffs.”

This is a team that pushed St. Benedicts, ranked in the top 10 nationally. The Rams were up nine in the second half before falling. They lost a heartbreaker at the buzzer to The Hun School, another MAPL rival they’ll probably have to deal with in the tournament.

“I think we’re playing pretty well,” Eilberg said. “We’ve just got to tighten up and get a little bit better at finishing games. Our young guys are growing up and getting consistent.”


Hill School2414131061
Perkiomen School13791241

Hill School

3DaQuan Morris30017
10Bryce Allen40019
12Seth Stankiewicz622216
15Chase Audige32208
19Jay Carter00000
21Mac Gallagher10002
23Jack Woepke30028
33Jonas Stakeliunas30006
35Solomon Ruddell00000
40Khalif Jeter00000
44Nick Duff00000
R. Toole00000
Syre Gruber20015
Justin Adedinsewo00000

Perkiomen School

1Bryce Noel13405
2Martynas Simanavicius700418
5Miles Longstreth30028
10David Smith00000
12Sam Glavin00000
22Ja’ren Hampton22306
24Joshua Cruz04504
25Seamus Finnegan00000
32Bill Finnegan00000
35Isaiah Armstrong00000

Match Stats

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