TOWAMENCIN >> Josh Jones scored eight of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter while the North Penn defense held Wissahickon scoreless for more than four minutes in a 67-50 Knights win at North Penn High School Monday afternoon.
After North Penn allowed 21 points in the third quarter and a Matt Compas basket to start the fourth had Wiss within eight – the closest the Trojans had been since the first quarter – Jones and the NP defense tightened up.
A Joey Larkins jumper extended the Knights lead back to 10, 56-46, before Jones grabbed a steal and raced to the other end for a layup. On Wiss’ ensuing possession the 6-foot-6 forward got back to his own basket for a block.
“I like energizing our guys and they love those kinds of plays,” Jones said. “It gets us all going. We’re all going to dive on the floor, we’re all going to do things like that to get us going.
“Right after the third quarter coach (John Conrad) was getting into us because they were going on a little run. He said let’s go on a run of our own. We definitely didn’t want to give up as many points as we did in the third, but the way we locked it down in the fourth shows that we can flip the switch whenever. I think our defense directly translates to our offense, which is what let us get out to a big lead in the second half.”
While the Trojans were scoreless from 6:05 to 2:01, North Penn rattled off 11 unanswered points. Jones went 6-for-8 from the free throw line and Ryan Zeltt went 1-for-2 to extend the lead to 65-46.
“I felt like I could get good positioning down in there,” Jones said. “My guys had great passes from the wing. I know when I get the ball inside I can score or if the defenses is collapsing kick it out and we’ll hit threes.”
“Josh Jones had all three of our big guys in foul trouble at the end,” Wiss coach Kyle Wilson said. “We never found an answer to slow that down.”
The Knights (9-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a Zeltt basket on the game’s first possession and led the rest of the way. Mario Sgro had three steals – two of which he turned into baskets – in the first quarter. The third steal came in the final 10 seconds, when he found Billy Coley for a three to beat the buzzer and give North Penn a 20-12 lead.
That momentum carried into the second quarter when the Knights scored the first seven points. A Jones three-pointer capped the early surge to put North Penn ahead, 27-12.
Jackson Intrieri scored five straight to get the Trojans (10-7) within 10, 29-19, but North Penn finished the half strong to head to the locker room with a 37-23 lead.
Wissahickon’s Josh Twersky battled foul trouble all game, but when he was on the floor in the third quarter he was scoring baskets. He scored six of Wissahickon’s first nine points of the second half to help cut the deficit, which was once as large as 16, to 10, 44-34.
After a timeout, Coley drilled a three to put North Penn back on top by 13. Coley did it again in the final minute of the third – sinking a shot from deep after the Trojans trimmed the margin to nine. Will Kunzier scored at the buzzer to get Wiss within 10, 54-44, with eight minutes remaining.
“Coley got his outside looks,” Wilson said. “Everything was clicking for them. We could never get close enough to make it an issue. It’s great we fought back to get it within eight, but eight’s not two, eight’s not three. They were on point in everything they did. It was an impressive game by them.”
Coley joined Jones in double figures with 15 points and Larkins added nine for the Knights.
Compas led Wiss in scoring with 14 points. Earl Stout added nine and Stefan Lowry and Twersky each had eight.