Kitaw’s spark off bench just what Methacton needs in win over Upper Perkiomen

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Methacton is deep this season, and down by 10 in the middle of the third quarter to visiting Upper Perkiomen Wednesday night, it was time for the Warriors to reach deep – literally and figuratively.

During a rousing 17-2 run that flipped the light switch and the game, the Warrior bench had a big say in the turnaround. Punctuating the top end of the surge was 6-3 junior Noah Kitaw, who bounced off the pine to bury consecutive three-pointers early in the fourth quarter. The first gave Methacton the lead for good, 38-36, and the waves of Warriors kept tirelessly working both ends of the floor to win going away, 55-41.

“I thought we just needed a little bit of a spark,” Methacton coach Jeff Derstine said, referencing Upper Perkiomen’s 10-point advantage at 34-24. “I thought Noah gave us that spark, and Brett Eberly, getting his first real varsity minutes, also provided a spark with his energy defensively.”

A silky perimeter weapon, Kitaw made the most of his playing time after having seen scant action lately.

“He’s an experienced player, we have some depth, and he stayed ready,” Derstine said.  “I told the guys, this is what it is to be a team. We needed some guys to step up and make plays, including some guys who hadn’t been getting a lot of varsity minutes, and they stepped up for us.”

“I just wanted to make the best plays possible,” Kitaw said. “I was really excited to get in.”

Sophomore guard David Duda led the Warriors with 15 points. Methacton’s depth was illustrated by 10 players scoring and five hitting 3-pointers. Senior guard Crandall Jones made three, but Derstine credited Jones’ defensive energy against talented All-Area Upper Perkiomen forward Ryan Kendra, who battled hard in working for 11 points.

Methacton’s 17-2 game-turning run was just the beginning; the Warriors closed out the Indians 31-7 over the last 12-plus minutes and outscored them 23-7 in the fourth quarter. The Warriors, 6-16 overall last season, improved to 8-7 and 6-2 in the PAC. Duda noted the enormity of the conference win in the long run relative to PAC playoff possibilities.

“We got things going defensively and things started snowballing for us in a positive way,” Derstine said. “It’s a huge win to battle back from down 10. They have a nice team, had some confidence going and were making some plays.”

In stretches of this cross-division PAC clash, Upper Perkiomen displayed the qualities that have made this a comeback year for the program. The Indians (4-4 in the conference, 3-2 in the Frontier Division, 8-6 overall) overcame a slow start offensively to own the second quarter.

Cranking up their defense and showing some variety and aggressiveness offensively, the Indians won the second period 13-5. Junior guard Liam Boyle hit a falling baseline floater to net the first tie at 13, and Will Walker’s post deposit gave the Indians their first lead, 17-15.

Methacton, confident from outside but misfiring much of the half – 7-of-24 floor shooting over the first two quarters – trailed going into the locker room, 20-17. Boyle hit a three just before the buzzer.

Both Duda and Kitaw said Derstine lit a well-needed fire in his halftime talk, Duda adding, ”We needed guys like Noah Kitaw and Brett Eberly to give us a spark when we were down 10, and we got it from them.

“We’re a really good three-point shooting team and we needed one to hit,” Duda continued, “and we made it tough for them to get shots they’re used to getting.”

It took a few minutes in the third, but once Methacton got rolling it didn’t stop. With the Warriors trailing 34-24, Duda triggered the turnaround with a transition three, then a rebound basket. Following two Upper Perk turnovers, Eberly nailed a trey as Methacton cut the deficit to two by the end of the third quarter, 34-32.

A Shamus Shields three-pointer preceded Kitaw’s pair of bombs, and Upper Perkiomen couldn’t counter. The Indians suffered a 1-for-9 shooting stretch in the midst of the Methacton momentum.

Upper Perkiomen

Will Walker500010
3Nick Groff40019
4Jon Brown10002
5Ryan Kendra355011
10Liam Boyle30017
12Bo Duka01201
40Nolan Graber01201


Shamus Shields00000
David Duda544115
Brett Marburger11203
Jeff Woodward30106
Andrew Pisano02202
Crandall Jones30039
Patrick O’Neill24819
Liam Malachowski10002
Noah Kitaw20026
Brett Eberly10013
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