Stover’s 25 points help Upper Dublin hold off Wissahickon

UPPER DUBLIN >> Picking up his second foul on a charge resulted in Drew Stover taking a seat for the final 2:56 of the second quarter Tuesday night.

The time off did not exactly sit well with the Upper Dublin boys basketball senior, providing the 6-foot-7 standout plenty of motivation coming out of the break.

“I just got a little angry, a little upset, especially getting those two fouls and having to go to the bench,” Stover said. “I went over to the locker room pissed, I just came out with a better attitude and it showed.”

An early 16-point UD advantage was whittled down to five after Wissahickon’s Matt Compas began the third by draining 3-pointer but Stover found his scoring stride in time to steady to Cardinals – tallying 12 of his side’s 14 points in the quarter to keep the Trojans at arm’s length.

Stover added eight more in the fourth to finish with a game-high 25 points as Upper Dublin held off Wissahickon then used an 11-1 closing run to pull away for a 59-45 victory.

“At halftime, coach talked about looking into the post because that’s been a problem, at least looking in like if I’m not open and the guards did a much better job looking in,” said Stover, who moved to within 12 points of 1,000 for his high-school career. “And I think it was a much cleaner second half than it was the first.”

While Stover had a slow start, it did not hurt Upper Dublin early – the Cardinals (7-5, 4-4 division) knocked down four 3-pointers in jumping out to a 21-8 advantage after a quarter. UD lead by as much as 16 in the first half but an 8-0 Wissahickon run cut the halftime margin to 30-22.

The Trojans (7-6, 4-4) kept chipping at the deficit and got it down to four three times in the fourth, the last time at 48-44 after a Compas transition layup. But Wissahickon went the next 4:35 without a point while UD scored the next seven – four by Stover – to push its lead to 55-44 with 1:22 seconds left.

“When we’re good our other guys step up because like just about every other team Wiss had a guy in front of Drew, they had a guy behind Drew so it’s going to be difficult to get the ball in the post,” Upper Dublin coach Chris Monahan said. “But shots open up on the outside, we were able to knock shots down in the beginning and that got us off to real good start which we kind of rode for the remainder of the game.”

DJ Cerisier registered 11 of his 13 points in the first half as the Cardinals look to regain their early-season momentum. Upper Dublin started the year 5-1 but proceeded to drop its next four. UD snapped the skid last Saturday by rolling past Quakertown then made it two straight Tuesday with its second win over the Trojans in 2021.

“For us, it’s a real line between us being very good and us being very bad,” Monahan said. “Because we have a kid that’s very good and capable of scoring in bunches, those other guys are the key to the team and if they’re taking care of the ball, if they’re taking good shots, we’re good. And you saw it tonight, you saw it against Quakertown.

“When we’re turning the ball over, when we’re taking poor shots, making bad decision, we stink. And I think that really was just the difference. I mean, we’ve gotten more consistent.”

Compas scored 12 of his team-best 20 points in the second half for Wissahickon, which has lost three of four since a 6-3 start. Josh Twersky added 11 points.

Both teams host SOL Liberty games 7 p.m. Thursday – Wissahickon takes on unbeaten Plymouth Whitemarsh while Upper Dublin faces Hatboro-Horsham, which knocked off the Cards 48-42 Jan. 26.

“Just the energy has improved much more,” Stover said. “After we beat Quakertown we were all much, much happier and much more energetic especially at practice yesterday. And going into Hatboro, we had a tough loss last time so we have all the motivation in the world to win these next few games.”

After Wissahickon scored the first half’s last eight points, Compas’ three to start the third made it an 11-0 run and pulled the Trojans within 38-33. Stover, however, answered with a three-point play at 7:37 then a reverse layup to make it 35-25.

A two from Compas and Earl Stout’s three had Wiss again down five at 35-30 only for Stover to respond with his second trey of the night.

“I think he did a good job asserting himself, he found some room on the baseline,” said Monahan of Stover. “Found an offensive rebound which he’s going to have to do when teams make it difficult to get him the ball on the post to the perimeter, which he’s capable of doing but him getting on the offensive glass and getting points that way is going to be key for us.”

Will Kunzier’s scored inside to get the Trojans within 38-33 but buckets from Stover and Griffin Pensabene put UD up nine.

Stover’s basket with less than 20 seconds gave the Cardinals a 44-34 lead before Compas converted on a drive in the final seconds to make it 44-36 entering the fourth.

A Compas basket and two Twersky free throws with 6:57 had Wissahickon down just 44-40. After Stover hit a pair from the line at 6:44, Twersky grabbed his own miss and scored inside.

Pensabene made it 48-42 with a layup after UD broke the Trojans’ press but Compas’ transition two had the Trojans back down four with 5:44 remaining. But that was Wissahickon’s final field goal of the game.

Stover hit two free throws at 5:29 then scored inside between two defenders after a feed from Cerisier, extending the lead to 52-44.

“I think our offense works better when we run it through,” Stover said. “A lot of times we just end up running it through once and then we think we have to take the shot. In the second half, we were running our stuff through and we got those extra two, three swings and I got open or they got open. It’s just better when we run through it.”

A Cerisier layup off a Pensabene assist put UD up 10. Noah Lee connected on the front end of a 1-and-1 for an 11-point edge at 1:22. Stover capped the night’s scoring with a one-handed alley-oop slam from Pensabene.

Cerisier, who was tasked with guarding Compas on the defensive end, scored seven points to help Upper Dublin get out to a 15-2 lead after a Seaton Kukla basket. A Kukla trey had the Cardinals up 21-6 before Compas’ two on a drive made it 21-8 going to the second quarter.

Stover posted his first points off an inbounds then followed with a 3-pointer, pushing UD’s advantage to 28-12. A Cerisier transition basket had the Cards up 16 again at 30-14 but Wissahickon scored the next eight – the first four from Jackson Intrieri, Stefan Lowry the next two inside with less than 20 seconds then Compas getting down court to beat the buzzer, cutting the deficit to eight at halftime.

Upper Dublin 59, Wissahickon 45
Wissahickon 8 14 14 9 — 45
Upper Dublin 21 9 14 15 — 59
Wissahickon: Matt Compas 9 1-3 20; Josh Twersky 4 3-4 11; Jackson Intrieri 2 0-2 4; Earl Stout 1 1-2 4; Will Kunzier 1 0-0 2; Stefan Lowry 1 0-2 2; Morgan Wilson 1 0-0 2; Totals 19 5-13 45.
Upper Dublin: Drew Stover 9 5-5 25; DJ Cerisier 6 0-0 13; Colin O’Sullivan 2 1-2 6; Seaton Kukla 2 0-0 5; Noah Lee 1 1-2 4; Griffin Pensabene 2 0-0 4; Ellis Johnson 1 0-0 2; Totals 23 7-8 59.
3-pointers: W-Compas, Stout; UD-Stover 2, Cerisier, Kukla, Lee, O’Sullivan.

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