Council Rock North boys basketball takes it out on Truman (VIDEOS)

Council Rock North senior Tyler Shields, 15, left, is guarded by Harry S Truman junior Jeff Nixon (1) in Suburban One National League boys basketball duel Jan. 12 on the Indians’ home court. Shields led all scorers with 12 points.   (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

NEWTOWN – Just a week earlier, Council Rock North suffered a devastating blow when the Indians lost by nearly 40 points to Suburban One National League (SONL) rival Pennsbury, falling to 3-10, overall on the season, 0-5 in the SONL.

A District 1 qualifier last year, the Indians needed something to hold onto. They got it in the form of a 47-43 triumph over visiting SOL National Conference rival Harry S Truman (6-4, 2-3: SONL) Thursday night, Jan. 12 on their home court.

According to Rock North head coach Jesse Krasna, the loss to the Falcons caused a period of self-examination among both players and coaches.

“That may have been one of the best things to happen to us,” stated Krasna, of the loss to Pennsbury. “It really made the coaches and each guy kind of look in the mirror. We took a good hard look at ourselves and our guys – they really embraced it.”

“It takes some special kids to be called out and to not get defensive and to try to change for the better.”

The Rock used the 3-ball to its advantage in this game, with CR North (4-10, 1-5: SONL) pumping seven treys into the basket including four by senior reserve guard Tyler Shields, who led the Indians with a dozen points. Starting senior forward James Kosyla was next in the scoring column with 11 points, including two field goals in the first period and two more after the intermission to go with a 3-for-3 performance from the foul line.

When big James wasn’t making shots, he was crashing the boards, scrambling for loose balls or going for a putback basket. Most of his teammates seemed to follow suit.

“One of the things that has been pretty consistent throughout the season has been the guys’ effort and that has kept us in most games,” said Krasna. “We very rarely have to ask them to play harder.

“The thing we improved on the most tonight is that we played smarter, offensively.

“We moved the ball well, we made the extra pass, and we were able to get wide open looks instead of just open looks.

Shields started hitting from behind the arc in the second period and that helped the Rock go into the intermission up four, 22-18. Junior reserve guard Matt McAlister also hit a trey in the second quarter, North’s best period, offensively, with 15 points.

“We’re a pretty good shooting team, overall,” added Krasna. “The statistics don’t say that but our guys, they know they’re good shooters and we know they’re good shooters.

“We encourage them to fire away when they’re open.”

Senior Drew Burton and Shields hit a pair of threes in the third period and yet still, the Tigers were able to hang tough, still within reach at 34-29.

A 9-0 run sparked by 3-pointers by senior Eric Levine and Shields along with a 3-point play by Kosyla put the Indians ahead, 40-29 with five minutes remaining in regulation but Truman refused to quit.

That quick, Marvel Rogers, a reserve guard for the Tigers, hit a trey of his own, then went end-to-end on a layup before adding the and one. A Rock turnover preceded a pair of made foul shots by senior Kelechi Ogbonna and with 4:20 to go, Truman was within striking distance at 43-37.

“Coach Conover – I have nothing but respect for him because he gets his guys to play really hard,” said Krasna. “They didn’t quit when they could have and they made it really tough for us to squeak out a win.

“That’s the thing you know you’re going to get every time you play Truman.”

That’s about as close as the Tigers could come, however. Over the next two minutes, the only point tallied in the contest was a single free throw by Nixon on a 2-shot opportunity from the charity stripe.

With under two minutes remaining, HST reserve guard Ean Cerogino hit his only bucket in the game on a 3-pointer, drawing Truman within a pair at 43-41, then Council Rock turned the ball over, giving the visiting Truman fans hope with less than a minute to go.

The Tigers gave the ball right back, however, and Levine hit a pair of free throws to give North some breathing room at 45-41 with 40 seconds left. Nixon hit an uncontested layup with 32 ticks remaining but the Indians countered with two more foul shots by Levine to close the scoring out and earn Rock its first league win of the season.

Neither team scored in the final 28 seconds of the contest.

Ironically, Truman’s first duel with Pennsbury – scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 10 – was canceled due to safety concerns. Apparently, a threat was phoned into the Bristol Township school, promising trouble. Both the boys and the girls basketball game, which was to take place at the Falcons Nest, were postponed. The boys game is rescheduled for Jan. 23 and the girls game will be Jan. 30.

Most of the area basketball teams – boys and girls – will compete in the SOL Basketball Challenge set to take place tomorrow at five schools (including CR North) in Bucks County and another in MontCo (Plymouth-Whitemarsh).

Council Rock North’s boys will host CB East at 4:30 p.m. while the Lady Indians will play the Patriots at 3 p.m. The action starts at North at 1:30 p.m. with a battle between the Council Rock South boys and Pennridge. CR South’s girls face Souderton 3 p.m. at William Tennent.

Meanwhile, the Truman boys must travel to Quakertown where the Tigers will face Central Bucks South at 3 p.m. The Truman girls travel to P-W where the Lady Tigers will face Springfield at 5:30 p.m.

Pennsbury and Neshaminy are also taking part in the tournament (see the remainder of the schedule below).

Council Rock North 47, Truman 43

(Jan. 12 at CR North)

Truman 6 12 11 14 – 43

CR North 7 15 12 13 – 47

TRUMAN (6-4, 2-3: SONL) — Jeff Nixon 9, Kelechi Ogbonna 3, Danell Snelling 2, Marvel Rogers 8, Zierr Reid 3, Z.J. Jackson 2, Tyrone Willis 3, Ean Cerogino 3; Gabe Gipli 10; TOTALS — 15 9-15 43.

CR NORTH (4-10, 1-5) — Eric Levine 9, Drew Burton 5, James Kosyla 11, Tyler Shields 12, Noah Ehlin 5, Matt McAlister 3, Tommy Boyle 2; TOTALS — 16 8-13 47.

3-POINT GOALS: T — Nixon, Rogers Reid, Cerogino; CRN — Levine, Burton, McAlister, Shields 4.



Saturday, Jan. 14

At Council Rock North

1:30 p.m.  Pennridge vs. Council Rock South (Boys)

3 p.m         Council Rock North vs. Central Bucks East (Girls)

4:30 p.m.  Council Rock vs. Central Bucks East (Boys)

At Quakertown

3 p.m.        Harry S Truman vs. Central Bucks South (Boys)

4:30 p.m.  Bensalem vs. Quakertown (Girls)

6 p.m.        William Tennent vs. Quakertown (Boys)

At William Tennent

3 p.m.        Council Rock South vs. Souderton (Girls)

5 p.m.        Pennsbury vs. Hatboro-Horsham (Boys)

7 p.m.        Pennsbury vs. William Tennent (Girls)

At Bensalem

11 a.m.        Neshaminy vs. Wissahickon (Girls)

12:30 p.m. Neshaminy vs. Wissahickon (Boys)

2 p.m.         Souderton vs. Bensalem (Boys)

At Central Bucks West

11 a.m.        Central Bucks South vs. Hatboro-Horsham (Girls)

1 p.m.         Abington vs. Pennridge (Girls)

3 p.m.        Cheltenham vs. Central Bucks West (Boys)

At Plymouth Whitemarsh

4 p.m.       Abington vs. Upper Dublin (Boys)

5:30 p.m. Springfield vs. Harry S Truman (Girls)

7 p.m.       Springfield vs. Plymouth Whitemarsh (Boys)

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