Jaworski-Owens bond helped fuel Perk Valley to title run

NORRISTOWN >> When the Perkiomen Valley football team hoisted the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship plaque in the fall, seniors Justin Jaworski and Sean Owens achieved a goal.

That was just one goal, though.

“Basketball,” Jaworski said during an interview back in November. “We want another win this winter.”

Tuesday night in the Pioneer Athletic Conference boys basketball championship, the duo got their wish after using a late 17-4 run to down Spring-Ford 52-45 to claim their first title since the 2012-2013 season.

“To get one in football and now in basketball was the ultimate goal,” Jaworski said. “To get this … it just feels great.”

The two influential seniors have played football together since the fifth grade, basketball together since the fourth. They were the first ones to celebrate together after a near-win against Spring-Ford in last year’s PAC championship game, and ones that stood by each other as the team cut down the remaining loops of the net after Tuesday night’s championship win.

With that many years as teammates and friends, Jaworski couldn’t help but give Owens a little ribbing after Owens cramped twice in the fourth quarter.

Perkiomen Valley’s Sean Owens cuts down the net following the PAC Championship Tuesday night. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

“We need him at full strength for us to succeed,” Jaworski said before turning his attention to Owens. “Why didn’t you eat a banana before the game?”

“I did. Go in the trash can,” Owens fired back with a grin. “There will be two in there.”

Whether Jaworski took Owens up on his word is unknown, but the gentle sparring between the two was an instant indication of the bond the two have built on and off the court.

Without the two, it’s hard to picture the Vikings in that position. Because of the two, they were.

“Sean’s one of my best friends,” Jaworski said. “We’ve been playing travel basketball since we were 10 and have been playing AAU all summer. Going into high school and starting three years beside him, it’s been awesome to play with him. He’s one of my best friends and a great player.”

“I’ve known him for eight or nine years and we’ve become great friends,” Owens added. “We work on stuff after practice and have a really good bond, especially playing two sports together. It’s fun in practice. We push each other, play free-throw shooting games, force each other to take tough shots and then during the games we just play real well together.

“The end result is this.”

Tuesday night may not have been the greatest display of what the duo can do on the court, but it was a testament of the mental fortitude the two possess. Jaworski started the game off ice cold, going 0-for-7 from the field before hitting a step-back 3-pointer with four ticks left on the clock in the second quarter for his first field goal. His demeanor, usually calm and cool, broke in the third quarter as he slapped the ground in frustration after getting called for an offensive foul underneath the basket. Owens, meanwhile, was slowed throughout by a well-rotating Rams defense. He was held to only five points before suffering leg cramps in the waning stages of the fourth.

Yet down 36-29 in the fourth, it was Jaworski and Owens who combined for 18 of the team’s next 21 points. Jaworski’s cut and finish followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Tyler Strechay and Owens cut the deficit to one before Jaworski found himself on the line for eight free throws in the final two minutes — he made them all.

Dribbling out the clock and walking to the bench with his arms outstretched, Jaworski heard the buzzer sound while Owens waited alongside.

Another goal accomplished, yet one more remains for a senior duo that has been through it all.

“We’ll celebrate tonight but tomorrow we’re right back to work at practice,” Jaworski said. “We want to compete for the District 1 title. I don’t think anyone really respects us as a No. 1 seed in the district so it’s more motivation for us.”

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