Pennsbury boys basketball’s Mark Flagg proves versatility in win at Neshaminy (PHOTO GALLERY)

Pennsbury seniors Mark Flagg (42) and Billy Warren (13) defend against Neshaminy junior Chris Arcidiacono (15) in Falcons win over the Skins Jan. 24 in Langhorne, Pa. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)

LANGHORNE – In an age of specialists, it’s great to discover a Renaissance athlete, a guy well-skilled in all phases of his chosen sport. Mark Flagg, power forward on the Pennsbury basketball team, has proven just such a versatile force.

Mark’s very entry into the world of competitive basketball speaks of his well-rounded athletic ability. “I started in fourth grade with the Pennsbury travel team. At the time, I was more of a football player and wrestler. My mom said she wanted me to try basketball out and I’ve loved it ever since. I was better at football than basketball until eighth grade, then it just clicked.”

The Falcon coaching staff is undoubtedly thankful for Mrs. Flagg’s maternal wisdom and guidance. Last year, Mark helped Pennsbury make it deep into the District One playoffs. Over the course of 23 games, he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds. He blocked 55 shots, recorded 35 assists, and shot 49 percent from the field. For his outstanding effort, Mark earned first team All Suburban One League (SOL) National Division honors.


This season, Mark has led the high flying Falcons to a 12-5 overall record. The victories include impressive conquests of several basketball powerhouses. “The key was after our opening two game wins over Berks Catholic (55-40) and North Penn (61-46). We knew they were great teams. We came out with 15- or 20-point wins. We kept rolling from there. We also beat Spring -Ford (73-58) and Cheltenham (62-53), and they’re solid teams. We know we can play with the good teams.”

The Falcons currently sit in second place in the SOL National Division with a 6-2 record. The only two league losses came at the hands of frontrunner Abington, which presently sports an unblemished 9-0 mark.

More importantly, they are close to achieving their season goal. Pennsbury is ranked fifth in District One, one spot below Abington.

“Our number one goal is to get back to Temple or Villanova for the District One finals. We want to get a good seeding. I think we are a great team, honestly. We love playing together. Everyone knows their role. It’s been a fun year.”

The team unity started building back in fourth grade. Mark found himself on the same club team with fellow seniors Addison Howard, Joey Monaghan and Billy Warren. “It seems I’ve played with them my whole life.”

Now, all the Falcons look to their versatile captain to provide the winning spark. “My role is to get the ball on post or on the outside and look for my teammates, get rebounds, and score when I can. I also need to be a captain and leader along with Addison (Howard). We help out the younger guys. Even when we’re not there next year, we’re still trying to make a pretty good situation for Coach Coleman by making the younger guys better.”

Mark’s influence was most evident in Pennsbury’s recent 49-41 win over Neshaminy, a contest the lanky 6-7 forward knew would be a heated affair.

“We came in knowing it was going to be pretty tough. Neshaminy always has a good atmosphere there. They always play us hard there (at Neshaminy). We knew we had to stop Arch (Chris Arcidiacono).”

Mark flashed one of his many talents on the opening play of the game. He drilled a three-point bomb to give the Falcons a lead they would never relinquish. From there, he controlled play under the boards, scored from inside, and passed off to open teammates when the defense fell back on him. At the other end of the court, his looming presence dominated in the paint and forced many a Neshaminy off-balanced shot.

In essence, Mark performed at his best, finishing the night as game high-scorer with 18 points. “I think the best part of my game is being able to play outside and being versatile. When I have a big guy on me, I can drive by him or get shots off over him. If I have a smaller defender, I can take him down in the paint.”

A true team player, Mark quickly noted the contributions of his teammates. “Our role players stepped up. Joey Monaghan (11 points) and Tyler Sessa-Reeves (11 points), who don’t score much, put up double figures to help us win that game.”

On defense, Mark also helped hold Arcidiacono to only 13 points, well under his 23 points per game average. “We put a face-guard on him and we knew if we had a smaller defender on him, he’d post up. We also knew I had to be backside help. We held him way under his average, so it was a pretty successful game.”

Undoubtedly, Mark’s versatile play will yield many more successful outings for the Falcons as they get ready for a long postseason run.

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