Lewis’ 18 points help Pennridge top Souderton, earn 7th straight win

FRANCONIA >> With Souderton determined to stop Sean Yoder, Pennridge boys basketball’s Tyrese Lewis saw an opportunity.

“I was kind of reading their defense a little bit because I’m OK, listen, they’re going to double-team Sean, I need to take advantage of that cause one man’s open, he’s swinging it and I’m open or somebody else is open,” he said. “That’s how it worked. I just took advantage of the defense.”

Lewis provided the Rams an early offensive boost in a Tuesday night Suburban One League Continental Conference contest in which the ball just couldn’t drop into the net for either team at times. The senior scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first half as Pennridge picked up a seventh straight win, holding off the host Indians in the fourth quarter to earn a 50-41 victory.

“Tyrese has played extremely well the last two two-and-a-half weeks for us. I think we’ve now won seven in a row and I think we’re 10-1 since Dec. 29 and Tyrese is a big reason for that,” Rams coach Dean Behrens said. “I think everyone kind of recognizes who Jon Post and Sean Yoder are and all of a sudden you add Tyrese to the mix and he’s a different type of athlete.

“Here’s a kid 6’6” who can guard a big man and guard a guard. We’ve done that. We’ve had him guard a 6-foot guy who can shoot the ball, we’re had him guard a big guy because he gives us some flexibility.”

Post added 11 points — six in the fourth — for Pennridge (14-4, 7-2 conference), which led by 13 late in the first half and a dozen in the third quarter before Souderton (8-11, 3-6) used a 10-1 run to pull within 34-31 in the fourth. After The Rams pushed the margin to seven, a 3-pointer by Big Red’s Mekhi Williams made it 40-36 but Pennridge responded with an 8-2 burst to go up by 10 in the final minute.

“We wanted to win, both teams wanted to win so bad. I’m not going to lie, you can not underestimate Souderton,” said Lewis, who scored in double figures for the fourth straight game. “You see the score is 41-50. They wanted to put it in, we wanted to put it in. Our defense was so good. You see they had a real good defense on Sean and us, so it was hard for us — both — to shoot. But at the end of the game, it was a good score.”

With the victory, the Rams remain level in the loss column with Central Bucks South and Central Bucks West — both 8-2 after wins Tuesday — at the top of the Continental standings. The title race gets some sorting out Friday when Pennridge visits CB West at 7 p.m.

“They were going to make a run at you, OK, which I expected,” said Behrens of Souderton. “They had a big win last night at Hatboro(-Horsham) so I thought ultimately this a big win for us, OK, because there’s no doubt in Doylestown on Friday it’s going to be a big showdown. First place is going to be on the line.”

Tomas Hanrahan and Kavi Ramchandani each had 10 points while Williams scored all eight of his points in the fourth for Souderton, which finally found some offense after a 13-point first half but not enough to avoid a second loss to Pennridge in eight days and have its three-game win streak snapped.

“We’re going to have periods, stretches where shots don’t fall for us, we can’t let that dictate our energy,” Indians coach Tim Brown said. “And I think a lot of times we need to see that ball go through the hoop to have the right amount of confidence in ourselves. We just got to be confident all the times, we know we’re a good team, we know we can take down and play with the best of them. We didn’t know to see the ball go in to do that.”

Souderton still has its District 1 playoffs hopes alive, the Indians heading into Friday’s 8 p.m. contest at North Penn 24th in the 6A rankings with 24 making the playoff field. North Penn sits 21st.

“We control our destiny,” Brown said. “Our goal was 10 wins to make districts and we’re in that position to do it. As much as we felt we could of really competed and won this game tonight, it’s on to the next. Let it sting a little bit so we bring a different type of energy to practice these next few days but for the most part it’s moving forward and getting ready for North Penn on Friday.”

Yoder put up 25 points the Rams’ 67-60 win over Souderton last Monday but Tuesday was held to just six points as the Indians ran a second defender at the junior throughout the game.

“When you do that you leave somebody wide open and I think Tyrese in the beginning of the game really benefited from that,” Behrens said. “Had a couple real clean looks at the basket and finished. And then Jon Post got into a little bit of foul trouble, that hurt him a little bit to be as aggressive offensively but overall, it’s something for us to look at and to learn from. It was a good plan, I expected at some point that was going to happen.”

In the first quarter, Lewis’ three-point play at 5:10 broke 4-4 tie as the Rams ended the opening eight minutes with an 11-2 run — Post contributing five points — to lead 15-6.

Pennridge extended its advantage to 11 twice in the second quarter before Big Red got within 19-11 on a jumper by Hanrahan. A Yoder jumper and Lewis’ three-point play with 9.7 seconds gave the Rams its biggest lead at 24-11 but with only 0.4 seconds left, Ramchandani hit a jumper and was fouled. He could not complete the and-1 and Pennridge’s halftime lead was 24-13.

The Indians cut the margin to nine 24-15 in the third but Ryan Warner’s corner 3-pointer to make it 27-15 and the Rams maintained a double-digit lead until Big Red scored the last five points of the quarter and continued the run in the fourth.

A Williams’ three-point play at 7:08 made it 33-29 and after a Mike Molettiere free throw Williams got into the lane and hit a floater, pulling Big Red within 34-31. But a Lewis putback and Post scored inside to put the Rams up seven.

After a Trevor Watts putback made it 38-33, Yoder answered with two free throws at 2:26 but Williams drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 40-36.

“He’s been huge. Every time he gets his name called he steps up in a big way,” said Brown of Williams. “And just doing exactly what we want him to do, he’s fitting his role really well and coming in and being another energy guy that can put the ball in the bucket so we’ve been really happy with him.”

Warner drove down the lane to give Pennridge a six-point edge. With 1:05 left, Souderton was called for an intentional foul on Post, who made both free throws. Lewis was fouled quickly after the ensuing inbounds and connected twice at the line for a 48-38 lead at 31.1 seconds.

Pennridge 15 9 9 17 — 50
Souderton 6 7 13 15 — 41
Pennridge: Tyrese Lewis 7 4-4 18; Jon Post 2 7-8 11; Mike Molettiere 2 1-2 6; Sean Yoder 2 2-3 6; Ryan Warner 2 0-0 5; Pat Gillespie 1 0-0 2; Christian Guldin 1 0-0 2; Totals 17 14-17 50.
Souderton: Tomas Hanrahan 4 1-3 10; Kavi Ramchandani 4 2-3 10; Mekhi Williams 3 1-1 8; Dom Natale 1 2-2 4; Trevor Watts 1 1-2 3; Steve Luchansky 1 0-1 2; Antonio Rodriguez 1 0-0 2; Andrew Vince 1 0-0 2; Totals 16 7-12 41.
Three-pointers: P-Molettiere, Warner; S-Hanrahan, Williams.

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