Jaworski sparks Perkiomen Valley’s rally at Hatboro-Horsham

HORSHAM >> Perkiomen Valley guard Justin Jaworski knows his team is going to have cold stretches in games.

It’s just natural when a team is as heavily based on shooting as the Vikings are. Knowing the cold spells are coming is one thing, but being able to handle them then battle back afterward is another. Jaworski and teammates know this.

Saturday, they showed they can do it too.

“As a shooting team, we’re going to go through those stretches where we don’t hit shots sometimes,” Jaworski said. “Our biggest focus is defense. We work on it every day in practice.”

Perk Valley proved its mettle as it rallied out of a big hole to top host Hatboro-Horsham 41-37. The Hatters led 21-8 with 5:30 left in the second quarter before Jaworski got hot and the Vikings turned the tide after halftime. Jaworski poured in 25 points, 16 of them coming in the second half, to spur his team.

PV’s offense came around but its defense was keyed in right from the start, with Jaworski trying to contain Hatboro-Horsham’s explosive senior guard Jay Davis and Tyler Stretchay doing the same against Hatters senior forward Clifton Moore. Still, Davis scored 17 on a very efficient 8-of-10 shooting and Moore added 11.

It was a sour ending to the regular season for Hatboro-Horsham, losing to Cheltenham on Friday and PV on Saturday as they await their standing in the District 1-6A playoff bracket. Granted, both teams were in the top six of the latest power rankings, but H-H coach Ed Enoch is still searching for a consistent effort from his squad.

“What was even more important today was that we got a good start defensively which keyed us offensively, we got easy shots off our defense,” Enoch said. “I don’t know what happened after that. We had 21 points with six minutes to go in the second quarter, then, I don’t know.”

Hatboro-Horsham’s big three of Davis, Moore and Ryan Black provided a 7-0 run midway through the first quarter that put the hosts up 11-6 and a late bucket by Moore put the Hatters up 13-8 after a quarter. With a balanced offensive output in the first, the Hatters were able to keep it going in the second.

Moore, Davis and Chris Edwards started an 8-0 run, which was capped by an alley-oop dunk from Davis with 5:30 left in the second. Hatboro-Horsham led 21-8 at that point and had all the momentum. Then, Perk Valley coach Mike Poysden called a timeout.

“It was a great opportunity for a team that relies heavily on shooting to see when you go in a cold stretch, you have to fight your way through it,” Poysden said. “You get back in the paint, make a couple little punches and be strong with the ball. I was really pleased with the way we responded.”

Poysden was very complimentary of Davis and Moore, who he called two of the premier athletes in the entirety of District 1 and knew both would be problems on both ends of the floor.

Perk Valley was cold as ice from the perimeter, starting 0-of-8 from 3-point territory until guard Jaworski canned one with 2:33 left in the half. The senior was rolling at that point, and went 3-of-4 to close out the half on a personal 7-0 run that pulled the Vikings within 21-15 at the break.

Jaworski said the timeout after the Davis dunk was critical for his team and Poysden told the players to just settled down on defense and fight back from there. His trey was also big but just as crucially, the Vikings were able to keep their hot streak going into the third quarter.

PV had the first five points of the third, and opened on a 12-4 run overall that capped itself when Andrew Light’s put-back gave the Vikings a 27-26 lead with 2:44 left in the frame. Jaworski either scored or assisted on 10 of the 12.

“We’re a little streaky when we shoot, so seeing one go in, the floodgates kind of open up a little bit,” Jaworski said. “We try to keep a level head throughout the whole game, we don’t want to get too up or too down at any point because basketball is a game of runs.”

Jaworski would then score the next six points for the Vikings, closing the frame on a 6-2 run when his floater in the lane dropped right before the buzzer. PV, down six at the half, had made an 11-point swing and led 33-28 with eight minutes to go.

The Hatters responded with a run of their own as Davis buried a 3-pointer, Chris Edwards scored and Davis finished a driving, reverse lay-up to knot the game at 35-35 with 4:18 left.

“I’ve seen signs all year,” Enoch said. “We’ve had moments every game where we are a pretty good basketball team. We have to learn to play 32 minutes and it’s the one thing we haven’t done all year.”

Jaworski and Moore each missed a chance to break the deadlock then with 2:40 left, Stretchay drew a shooting foul and knocked down both free throws. The Hatters missed a 3-pointer, both teams turned the ball over and Hatboro-Horsham had to foul Stretchay to halt the clock.

The PV forward canned both ends of the 1-and-1 to briefly make it a four-point game until Davis sank a baseline jumper with nine seconds left. Fittingly, Jaworski ended up on the foul line for the following foul shots, hit both and PV was able to walk off the floor with a well-earned win.

“He’s just a solid, solid player,” Poysden said of Jaworski. “I think everyone in the gym sees that when we need a bucket, a stop, a play, when we need to speed up or slow down, it’s his team. His teammates have faith in him because he gives it up. He’s not a black hole, he’ll gladly give it up and kick it around.”

Perkiomen Valley 41, Hatboro-Horsham 37
Perkioimen Valley 8 7 18 8 — 41
Hatboro-Horsham 13 8 7 9 — 37
Perkiomen Valley (41): Justin Jaworski 10 2-2 25, Andrew Light 2 0-0 4, Tyler Stretchay 1 4-4- 6, Sean Owns 1 0-0 2, Hogan Millheim 2 0-0 4. Nonscoring: Dante Graves, Joe Gorla, Sevan Downing. Totals: 16 6-6 41.
Hatboro-Horsham (37): Jay Davis 8 0-0 17, Clifton Moore 5 0-0 11, Chris Edwards 2 0-0 4, Ryan Black 2 0-0 5. Nonscoring: Bradon Crews, Jake Schalki, Khalid Johnson. Totals: 17 0-0 37.
3-pointers: PV – Jaworski 3; HH – Davis, Moore, Black.

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