Souderton snaps 12-game losing streak to Pennridge

EAST ROCKHILL >> Another trip to Pennridge, another memorable victory for Souderton senior Evan Kutzler.

Last November, Kutzler and the Indians football team topped Pennridge for the District 1-6A title on the Rams’ home field.

Friday night, Kutzler returned to the site of his fall success and again left celebrating – helping the Big Red boys basketball team claim its first win over Pennridge since 2014.

“It’s just something about it this year, I guess,” Kutzler said. “Getting a win here football and basketball, it does feel good but we got to keep moving on.”

Kutzler scored a game-high 12 points as the Indians kept finding ways to answer Pennridge throughout the second half, including a defensive stop in the final seconds to secure a 47-45 SOL Colonial Division win for their first victory of the season.

“I think it was just a testament to the maturity of our team and think over the past week we’ve really matured as a team and that’s really big milestone for us,” Kutzler said. “But we got to keep building on it. We can’t let this be like we’re done with it, we got to come back tomorrow, we got to keep working and wins don’t forgive sins is what coach says.”

Aleks Smith collected five of his nine points in the fourth while Shaun Purvy and Chris Towsen each had eight points for Souderton (1-3, 1-3 division), which snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Rams – the Indians’ last win in the rivalry coming in the 2014 District 1-4A first round.

“They came in here, we haven’t lost to them probably since like 2014 or something, you know long time ago and [Souderton coach] Tim [Brown] did a really good job of getting his kids ready,” Pennridge coach Dean Behrens said. “They changed defense – it was zone, it was man and we didn’t do a good job of communicating defensively, we didn’t do a good job communicating offensively either.”

Smith’s 3-point play with 2:42 remaining in the fourth gave Souderton a 44-39 lead but Pennridge (3-2, 2-2) took advantage of Indians turnovers to pull within one – a Matt Campione layup on a baseline drive followed by Colin Monahan going down the lane for two to make it 44-43.

The Rams’ trap came close to forcing a steal, but Towsen corralled a deflected pass and from midcourt found Smith down low for a basket and a 46-43 lead. However, Colin Post cut to the hoop for a layup off a Campione assist to get Pennridge back within one 46-45 with 55.6 seconds left.

After a Souderton missed shot, Smith came up with a loose ball under the basket and the Indians called timeout to keep possession with 27.2 seconds. But Big Red was then called for a five-second violation, giving the ball back to the Rams with 16.5 seconds. Post ended up taking a shot for the win, but his turnaround try from the right side was short.

“We switched it up, we went into a 2-3 [zone] and I think that kind of confused them a little bit,” Kutzler said. “Slowed it down and we just played our game, played what we’ve been practicing and I think it really worked out for us and I’m glad we were able to get that stop and finish out the game.”

Purvy made the front end of his 1-and-1 with 0.8 seconds for two-point lead. The second didn’t go down but the Rams’ full-court desperation heave at the buzzer was well off-target.

“Souderton was, really, I thought they had more energy than we did,” Behrens said. “We didn’t have the energy we were just lethargic tonight.

Luke Yoder had a team-high 10 points for Pennridge, which had its two-game win streak stopped. Campione and Monahan each chipped in nine points.

“We had two good wins against North Penn and [Central Bucks] West, I really felt good,” Behrens said. “I really felt like the team has bought in and we were making some progress. I think we took a step back tonight.

“You know we came out flat, we have to be involved with every possession like it’s Game 7 of the World Championship or the NBA Championship, like every possession is important for us.”

Pennridge and Souderton both host division matchups Tuesday – the Rams take on Central Bucks South at 3:30 p.m. with the Indians facing Central Bucks West at 7 p.m.

“It feels really good to get in the win column,” Kutzler said. “I know this is a really young team and I think we’ve matured a lot. Like I said earlier, this is a testament to our maturity as team and we just have to keep building on that win.

Both teams struggled to find points early Friday, the first quarter ending tied 8-8 after Kutzler’s deep three as time expired in the period hit nothing but net.

“I thought I wasn’t going to make the buzzer in time but it felt good leaving my hands and it definitely felt good when it went in,” Kutzler said. “That’s kind of like a street-ball like deep 3, just chuck it up but, no, it felt good.”

Kutzler put the Indians up 10-8 with the first basket of the second quarter but the Rams collected the next six – Post’s jumper giving the host a 14-10 lead.

Pennridge, however, stayed stuck on 14 for the rest of the half. Purvy scored in transition off a Kutzler outlet with two Kutzler free throws at 3:33 tying things at 3:33. Smith’s bucket inside had Big Red up 16-14 while a Towsen 3-pointer extended the advantage to 19-14 at the break.

“We mentally were not involved,” Behrens said. “We were running plays, we were not in the right spots, we didn’t know what plays we were running cause we just forgot. I don’t know what happened.

“And then I don’t know if it was just we thought we were going to walk on the floor and beat this team and that’s not who we are. You can never do that in this league, I don’t think. And we have to learn from that.”

Both teams got their offenses going in the third. Post’s three off an inbounds knotted the contest at 22 but back-to-back treys from Paul Vince and James Blair gave Souderton a 28-22 lead.

The Rams responded with a 7-0 run to go ahead 29-28 on a Yoder putback before Kutzler’s three-point play had the Indians back in front 31-29. Purvy connected on a floater in the lane in the final seconds of the third, giving Souderton a 35-33 lead entering the final quarter.

Baskets from Kutzler and Vince had Souderton up six but a Campione 3-pointer made it 39-36. Souderton extended its lead to five twice during the remainder of the contest – the last time at 44-39 before holding off the Rams’ late charge.

Souderton8 11 16 12 – 47
Pennridge 8 6 19 12 – 45
Souderton: Evan Kutzler 4 3-3 12; Aleks Smith 4 1-1 9; Shaun Purvy 3 2-4 8; Chris Towsen 3 0-0 8; Pau Vince 3 0-2 7; James Blair 1 0-0 3; Totals 18 6-10 47.
Pennridge: Luke Yoder 5 0-0 10; Colin Monahan 4 0-0 9; Colin Post 4 0-0 9; Matt Campione 2 0-0 5; Justin Nichols 2 0-0 5; TJ Grenda 2 0-0 4; Greg Stumpo 1 0-0 3; Totals 20 0-0 45.
3-pointers: S-Towsen 2, Blair, Kutzler, Vince; P-Campione, Monahan, Nichols, Post, Stumpo.

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