Billy Warren helps Pennsbury basketball hold on at Council Rock South (VIDEO)

Council Rock South senior Alex Nordenholt, 23, left, is defended by Pennsbury junior Josh Arruda in 40-35 Falcons’ win Jan. 3, 2017 at CRS, Southampton, Pa.  (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

SOUTHAMPTON – Council Rock South turned in a solid defensive performance, limiting visiting Pennsbury to just 40 points in Tuesday night’s Suburban One National League loss to the Falcons.

Problem was Pennsbury (6-3) played a pretty good defensive game of its own, limiting Golden Hawks team leader Austin Thomas to four points, twin towers Ryan McNamee and Ryan Boyd to 10 points, combined and CR South as a team to just 35 points.

“To limit them to 40 points we would have taken that at the start of the game,” said CR South head coach Derek Wright. “They did just as good as good a job defensively; they made us uncomfortable – out us out of where we wanted to be.

The Hawks (7-2) got off to a shaky start offensively in this one, shooting 5-for-23 in the first half, helping Pennsbury take a 6-point lead into the locker room, one the Falcons expanded to nine points heading into the final frame, on their way to their second league win of the season and their sixth overall.

“We didn’t start off solid; credit their defense – they make you uncomfortable,” explained Wright.

“We had two early possessions where if we were a little bit more solid with our footwork and the ball, we probably would have had layups.

“It’s only four points but in a high school basketball game, that gets you going.

“We turned it over both times and they went down and scored on two straight possessions.”

While the Hawks whittled a lead the Falcons mounted in the first period down to just three points in the final 2:45, South just could not seem to stop the Falcons’ twin towers Mark Flagg and Billy Warren. The 6-8 Flagg hit for 10 points in the first quarter and 16 points for the game.

While Warren, a 6-7 transfer from Neshaminy, didn’t score at all in the first period and missed 4-of-5 free throws in the second quarter when he hit two shots from the floor, he canned three field goals in the second half, including a critical 3-point play to expand Pennsbury’s edge to six points with 1:25 remaining.

“He was the difference tonight,” admitted Wright, of Warren. “I thought, besides a little stretch in the first half there with Flagg, we did as good a job as we could on (their bigs).

“Warren was the difference, getting offensive rebounds and he made a couple nice plays – one-on-one moves. If he’s scoring the way he did tonight, they’re tough.”

The Hawks’ defense did lose track of Flagg in the first quarter, a period in which big Mark erupted for 10 points including a 3-pointer. After that, when South’s ‘D’ collapsed on Flagg, South just dished the ball of to Warren, who canned a putback and a turnaround one-handed jumper in the paint in the second stanza.

From the foul line, Billy notched just 1-of-5 free throws in the quarter, however.

“That’s not like me; I missed three of four (foul shots) all year so far,” stated Warren. “I was missing a lot of easy ones, a lot of easy layups and I was really frustrated myself.

“In a game against a good team like this, we can’t be doing this because that might be the reason that we lose.”

CR South may have forced the Falcons to turn the ball over with 45 seconds to go in the game, but the Hawks couldn’t buy a shot from the floor from there in an eventual 40-35 loss to Pennsbury, South’s first league loss of the season.

“With their bigs in the paint, we needed to penetrate in the paint and kick out, which we did,” explained Wright.

“We did a really good job getting back into it; we just didn’t get a stop when we needed to inside two minutes there.”

Coming off a win over the holiday break over Girard College High School, the Hawks fell to 7-2 on the season while the Falcons pushed to 6-3, overall, after a loss to 2016 PIAA quarterfinalist Chester in the Pete & Jameer Nelson Classic Dec. 29 and 30 at Widener University.

CR South senior Alex Nordenholt led the Hawks with 13 points, though he was the only one in double digits for the home team. Pennsbury had three players in double digits including Flagg (16), Warren (12) and Howard, who hit all 10 of his points after the intermission filling in for Tyler Sessa-Reeves (concussion) at point guard.

Following Nordenholt’s driving layup to begin the second half that cut the Falcon lead to four, Howard hit a 3-point play to open the second-half scoring for the Falcons.

“Addison can step up and make plays for us, especially when he drives, he can make contact,” said Warren. “He’s a great finisher, especially for his size around the rim.

“That really got the crowd into it and it got our players, our bench into it.

“It really sparked us to start playing better defensively and start playing with more intensity.”

The and-one by Howard was followed by a Warren layup off a feed from Flagg. Nordenholt then countered with a trey that cut Pennsbury’s lead to six three minutes into the third period, but Howard answered with his own 3-pointer. Flagg followed with back-to-back layups then Howard finished an 8-point performance in the second period with a pair of free throws.

In addition to taking on the point guard duties, Howard marked Thomas, defensively, holding the CR South senior to a single layup in the first period.

“Addison was the MVP of this game,” stated Warren. “He always locks in defensively and he’s a great defender. Some nights, he catches fire offensively and he can put up 30 (points) a night.”

Next up for Pennsbury is Rock North (0-4). The Falcons host the Indians Thursday night before hosting 2016 PIAA Class A semifinalist Constitution on Saturday. The Generals outpaced Pennsbury by 15 points in last year’s matchup. The Falcons are at Truman (1-2) Tuesday, Jan. 10 and at Bensalem (1-2) Thursday, Jan. 12.

Meanwhile, the Hawks travel to Bensalem Friday night before hosting Neshaminy (2-2) Tuesday, Jan. 10 then traveling to league leader Abington (4-0) Thursday, Jan. 12.

Contact Steve Sherman at or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

Pennsbury 40, Council Rock South 35

(Jan. 3 at CR South)

Pennsbury 12 7 14 7 – 40

CR South   6 7 11 11 – 35

COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH (7-2) — Shaun Smith : 6, Austin Thomas 4, Christian Jabbar 2, Ryan McNamee 5, Kevin Newbert 5, Alex Nordenholt 13; TOTALS — 12 8-10—35.

PENNSBURY (6-3) — Josh Arruda 2, Mark Flagg 16, Addison Howard 10, Billy Warren 12; TOTALS — 16 6-11—40.

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