Giuliani, Coleman help North Penn hold off Conestoga in District 1-6A 5th place game

TOWAMENCIN >> David Giuliani gave the North Penn boys basketball the lead in the second quarter. Chris Coleman helped the Knights hold onto it in the second half Friday night.

Giuliani scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter to giving host No. 5 North Penn a four-point advantage over No. 7 Conestoga at halftime. Coleman, meanwhile, hit shots a crucial moments in collecting 10 of his 15 points in the final 16 minutes as the Knights topped the Pioneers 64-53 in the District 1-6A fifth-place game.

“I thought all year I’ve been talking about defense has fed our offense but I thought tonight offensively we were able to go punch-for-punch with them,” North Penn coach John Conrad said. “Chris Coleman was awesome tonight. Giuliani was good tonight. So I think tonight offensively was the difference.”

The win for the Knights (21-6) sends them into a PIAA first-round matchup with District 3 third-place finisher Reading and its Miami-bound McDonald’s All-American Lonnie Walker Saturday, March 11 at a site and time to be announced.

“That’s a group of competitors in the locker room and to be honest we talked about it and they all our looking forward to the opportunity,” Conrad said. “They know it’ll be a great challenge, but they played some pretty good teams in Abington and Coatesville and we feel like we’ll be able to compete.”

Conestoga knocked down nine 3-pointers, five by Scott Shaprio who finish with a team-high 18 points as the Pioneers take sixth in districts and take on the District 12 second seed — either Roman Catholic or Lincoln — in their state opener.

“We talk about every game about doing the basics well and credit to North Penn, I thought they did the basics very well. And I thought that we were lacking in the that area a little bit,” Conestoga coach Mike Troy said. Especially when we’d get the game close. Didn’t get an easy bucket or a board. We just have to do the basics better.”

Angus Mayock added 12 points for the Pioneers while Charlie Martin hit a trio of 3-pointers in finishing with 11 points as Conestoga heads into state play for the fourth consecutive season.

“Our seniors have really set a mark for us in terms or wins, in terms of how far we’ve achieved,” Troy said. “Going to state four years in a row is not easy. And these guys to be able to say that is a real tribute to their character.”

After the teams were tied 12-12 at the end of the first eight minutes, Giuliani gave North Penn the lead for good with back-to-back baskets inside to start the second quarter.

“A kid like that makes it pretty simple,” said Conrad of the Merrimack commit. “When we get in a pinch, we tell our kids we got to throw it inside. He’s good in there, he’s got a good presence, feels pressure, kicks it out. He’s good.”

Reece Udisnki and Ricky Johns chipped in eight and seven points, respectively, as the Knights go into their first PIAA game since 2000 on a two-game winning streak.

“After Coatesville, we knew we should of won that game,” said Coleman of NP’s district quarterfinal loss. “After that night, we picked our heads up and we knew that we get another shot at them we’ll definitely get the win this time.”

The Knights pushed their advantage to eight twice  — the last on a Giuliani bucket to make it 28-20 — but a Shapiro three had Conestoga within 30-26 at halftime.

The Pioneers pulled level 35-35 in the third on when Mayock hit a shot leaning away, but Johns and Giuliani responded to put NP back up four.

A Zach Lezanic triple had Conestoga within one, yet Coleman answered with a short jumper. A Mayock free throw at 2:16 made it 41-39 only for Giuliani to drain his second 3-pointer of the contest.

“I feel like were playing more harder and rebounding more in the second half,” Coleman said. “I feel like that’s what picked us up in the second half.”

A basket from Noah Kwortnik had North Penn leading 46-39 before Shapiro’s three send the Pioneers to the fourth down four.

After two from Udisnki had the Knights up six, Conestoga cut the margin down to three twice. A Martin’s three got a generous bounce to drop and had the Pioneers to within 50-47, but a Derek Heiserman basket then a jumper by Coleman pushed NP’s advantage to seven.

“I feel really comfortable, I don’t feel any pressure going into the fourth quarter,” Coleman said. “I just treat each quarter 1-1, 0-0.”

Four straight from Shapiro again had the Knights’ lead at three — 54-51 — but Coleman once more answered with a jumper in the lane. And when Mayock free throw made it 56-52 with 1:54 to go, Coleman put NP ahead by six with Giuliani’s three-point play at 1:19 putting the lead at 61-52.

“Bottom line is both teams are in state playoffs. And that’s what it’s about,” Troy said. “So, who you play, doesn’t matter. It’s just matters if the next game your goal is to win and advance.”

Conestoga led by as much as five in the first quarter, the last time at 10-5 before North Penn ran off seven straight points to go up 12-10. Milton Robinson’s two free throw at 1:05 tied the game 12-12.

North Penn 64, Conestoga 53
Conestoga          12 14 16 11 — 53
North Penn        12 18 16 18 — 64
Conestoga: Scott Shapiro 6 1-2 18; Angus Mayock 3 6-8 12; Charlie Martin 4 0-0 11; Zach Lezanic 2 1-2 6; Milton Robinson 1 2-2 4; Charlie Schappell 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 10-14 53.
North Penn: David Giuliani 8 2-3 20; Chris Coleman 7 0-2 15; Reece Udinski 3 2-2 8; Ricky Johns 3 1-2 7; Noah Kwortnik 2 0-0 5; AJ Mitchell 1 3-4 5; Derek Heiserman 2 0-0 4; Lance Ford 0 0-1 0. Totals 26 8-14 64.
Three-pointers: C-Shapiro 5, Martin 3, Lezanic; NP-Giuliani 2, Coleman, Kwortnik.

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