Jenkintown shapes up; Washington’s hot hand leads Upper Moreland

JENKINTOWN >> Jenkintown’s boys basketball team went into the holiday break on a very high note.

They came out of it in a less positive way in the first quarter of their first round game against Franklin Towne Charter in the Robert Hopf Memorial Tournament on Tuesday. While the Drakes played much better after halftime, coach Wes Emme wasn’t happy what his team had to do to get into the game.

Jenkintown ultimately got itself together and topped Franklin Town3 69-39 to set up a championship match with Upper Moreland on Wednesday.

“It’s unfortunate that you have to press to score,” Emme said. “We just weren’t executing, although we did a better job of that in the second half. We were up and down.”

Just before Christmas, the Drakes beat Bicentennial Athletic League rival Faith Christian then had a couple days off for the holiday. Emme said it was natural to expect a little bit of a letdown after all that but he wants his guys to approach every game with the same kind of focus and preparedness.

Emme works at Franklin Towne, but aside from some film, his players didn’t have the same kind of feel with the Coyotes they do with teams like Faith. So, the early part of the first quarter was more feeling things out and the Jenkintown coach just wasn’t happy with the pace his offense was going at.

The press certainly got things going, as it flustered Franklin Towne into turnovers and turned a 9-8 lead into a 19-8 advantage after the first.

“It was a good challenge for us,” Emme said. “It’ a Public League school that plays fast and they surprised us a little bit with how they matched up. We thought they would go zone, but it was a good challenge and they forced us to adjust.”

Drakes senior Jameson Kolb was the steadying hand on the 10-0 first quarter run, scoring seven points then added four points and an assist to Gavin Lafferty on a second quarter 8-0 spurt. Kolb finished the night with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Lafferty dropped in 14 points while senior guard Jason Plange provided great energy all night with 10 points, seven board, two helpers and a block. It was fitting though, that Kolb was the guy getting Jenkintown back on track.

“He does exactly what he’s supposed to do on every single play,” Emme said. “That’s the best thing about him, I don’t ever have to worry about him. Whether it’s talking to the press, on social media, in practice, I know what I’m getting out of Jameson Kolb.”

Jenkintown led 33-16 at the half then really turned things up in the third quarter. Plange, who had just one point at the break, scored his other nine in the third quarter.

“They said to lock up and get focused on defense,” Plange said. “We came out way better in the third quarter, sped up the intensity and started to get run-out layups. We’re a good defensive team so we’re capable of pressing and that helped us a lot.”

Plange is a growing success story for the Drakes early in the season, one of several players shouldering more minutes for a new-look group. Guys like Plange, Lafferty, Trevor Brockwell, Pat Morrin and even John Contoudis and Michael DiValentino are all doing more.

While Plange was a weapon in the third and on the glass, his highlight of the night came on a second quarter assist to Ted Foley. In a two-on-one after a turnover, Plange drew the defender to him as he went to the rim, then dropped the ball off behind his back to Foley for a lay-up.

“That just happened to be honest,” Plange said.

The Drakes built their lead to 53-24 at the end of the third quarter and let the reserves close out the fourth quarter. All 11 players who saw time scored at least two points for Jenkintown.

Upper Moreland poses a much different challenge than Franklin Towne Charter, something Plange and his teammates are well-aware of. The Golden Bears shoot the 3 very, very well but also have guard attacking guards and a solid inside game, so Jenkintown won’t be able to feel its way into that matchup.

“We have to stop the 3-ball,” Plange said. “It’s getting in their face from the start but also closing out on shooters and of course getting boards.”

Jenkintown 69, Franklin Towne Charter 39
JENKINTOWN 19 14 20 16 – 69
Franklin Towne (39): McCurdy 4 0-0 9, Greenstein 2 1-2 5, Seguinot 2 0-0 4,Gallagher 1 1-2 3, Tulibacki 2 0-0 5, Correa 2 0-0 4, Ramos 2 1-2 6, Castle 1 0-0 3, Heine 0 0-2 0, Lugo 0 0-1 0. Totals: 15 4-11 39
Jenkintown (69): John Contoudis 0 2-3 2, Michael DiValentino 1 2-2 4, Gavin Lafferty 6 2-3 14, Jameson Kolb 6 5-6 19, Jason Plange 4 1-4 10, Trevor Brockwell 1 0-0 2, Patrick Morrin 1 2-4 4, Alec Griffin 1 0-0 2, Ted Foley 2 0-0 4, Jason Biggs 2 0-0 4, Jacob Schwartz 2 0-0 4. Totals: 26 14-22 69
3-pointers: FTC McCurdy, Tulibacki, Correa, Ramos, Castle; J- Kolb 2, Plange


Damian Washington had been slumping coming into Tuesday’s matchup with Calvary Christian in the Robert Hopf tournament.

After his third quarter performance, it’s safe to say that slump is over. Washington started the frame with a smooth step-back 3-point shot, then hit his next four attempts on his way to a 14-point period. The Golden Bears senior poured in a game-high 21 as UM shook off an uneven first half to set up Wednesday’s championship with Jenkintown.

“I felt good all game really, it was just about knocking them down,” Washington said. “I finally put it together after putting in work in the gym and I got it back. I was shooting short, it was on line just short but the coaches kept telling me to get my legs into it.”

Upper Moreland plays a read-and-react offense but they’ve been inconsistent at times according to coach Matt Heiland. Heiland said sometimes the reads don’t come fast enough and other times the Bears fall in love with the outside shot.

Their 3-point prowess is the first thing opponents want to take away, so Upper Moreland needs to keep attacking and finding its interior players like Shane Stone and Jake Villanueva.

“If we don’t execute early, we’re allowing teams to stay with us and we’re starting to doubt ourselves,” Heiland said. “We only lost one guy from last year, so we know what we’re good at and what we can do, it’s just a matter of executing it.”

Upper Moreland 56, Calvary Christian 26
UPPER MORELAND 12 7 26 11 – 56
Calvary Christian (26): Winterstein 4 1-4 9, Hahn 2 0-0 4, Buck 1 5-9 7, Walsh 3 0-0 6. Totals: 10 6-13 26
Upper Moreland: Damian Washington 7 2-2 21, Anthony Green 2 3-4 8, Casey Decker 2 3-4 7, Ryan Coyle 2 2-2 6, Shane Stone 2 0-2 4, Jake Villanueva 1 0-0 2, Tommy Jacob 3 0-1 6, Griffin Shawcross 1 0-2 2. Nonscoring: Christian O’Donnell, Brett Brossman, Tanner Herb. Totals: 20 10-15 56
3-pointers: UM Washington 5, Green

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