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Perkiomen Valley boys basketball downs Norristown in postseason push

Perkiomen Valley guard Julian Sadler, left, drives past Norristown guard Jayden Byrd, right, in a PAC Liberty tilt at Perkiomen Valley High School on Friday. (Evan Wheaton - MediaNews Group)

COLLEGEVILLE >> Not too many boys basketball teams in District 1 are in as interesting a position as Perkiomen Valley is.

While the Vikings came out strong in non-league play to kick off the season, loss after loss hit within the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Despite that, Perkiomen Valley finds itself ranked No. 9 in the Class 6A field with a chance to host a postseason game or potentially earn a bye.

The Vikings boosted their stock on Friday with a 68-61 win over Norristown at home. The game is just Perkiomen Valley’s second PAC Liberty divisional win this winter.

“We’re taking it game by game,” Vikings guard Julian Sadler said. “PAC playoffs, it’s up in the air, we don’t know if we’re gonna get in. If we win out, maybe we get in. But taking care of divisional games definitely helps us in-district and in-league. So, we’re just taking it game by game.”

Sadler, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound junior, amassed 32 points to pace Perkiomen Valley (13-7, 2-6) on the offensive end of the floor. The outing was well above his conference-leading 20.9 ppg and allowed the Vikings to hover around a six-to-10-point lead throughout much of the night. Perkiomen Valley led by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter.

Mason Thear scored 13 points with eight of them in the third frame, in which time the Vikings began to balloon their lead after holding a 32-25 halftime advantage. Big man Morgan McKinney added 11 points for the Vikings.

Thear, like many on the roster, didn’t have varsity experience until this year. But in recent weeks the sophomore guard has become a complimentary scoring threat, particularly on the outside with defenses keying on Sadler more.

“I think Mason has definitely taken a big step up this season,” Sadler said. “It’s his first year on varsity, so I feel like now he’s used to the pace and speed and everything so now I think he’s getting in his groove.”

Coming off a 27-point performance at Methacton three days prior, Eagles (9-10, 4-4) guard Jaden Wise scored 12 points — all from 3-point range — while Jayden Byrd led Norristown with 15. Jonathan Brooks also had 12 for the Eagles.

Norristown kept it a close contest through the first half. The Eagles were able to adapt to broken possessions and often find buckets during them. The second quarter alternated lead changes often as Myon Kirlew found all seven of his points for Norristown in the frame while Sadler got hot with 12 of his own.

“To not turn the ball over on a really good Norristown team, and I thought we really competed on rebounds. To me, those were the two things we really had to hit well to compete against this team because they’re playing really well,” Perkiomen Valley coach Michael Poysden said.

Perkiomen Valley Luke Hansen, center, drives into the paint against Norristown defenders in a PAC Liberty tilt at Perkiomen Valley High School on Friday. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Norristown has had a relatively opposite experience than the Vikings in 2022-23. A 1-6 start through non-league play was followed by PAC wins falling like dominoes. Ranked No. 15 in District 1-6A, The Eagles are also on the outside looking in at the PAC playoffs with just two divisional games left.

The Eagles are the reigning District 1 runner-ups in the 6A field and reached the second round of the PIAA tournament last year. While Kirlew is the lone returner with impactful minutes for Norristown — a parallel to Sadler for Perkiomen Valley — the Eagles have still grinded out enough conference wins to hover around the PAC bubble.

Meanwhile, Perkiomen Valley is in a unique situation where it can potentially see postseason action in its own gym beyond the PAC tournament.

The Vikings will need to take a page from Friday — having avenged an 11-point loss to Norristown earlier in the season — and take it to Liberty foes Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford in order to maintain a top-nine district ranking to enter the postseason off on the right foot.

“That game, we got off to a really slow start, and we’re not the type of team that can press our way back in,” Poysden said on his squad’s first game against Norristown. “We have to be making plays and executing things early. The first three minutes have to matter and they kind of knocked us on our heels a little bit in that first game. But we came prepared and ran our stuff well.”

Perkiomen Valley 68, Norristown 61


Perkiomen Valley1319171968


1Jayden Byrd711015
2Jaden Wise400412
3Roddy Gaymon III22206
4Andre Gordon00000
5Jonathan Brooks522012
12Myon Kirlew21327
21Miles Daniels40019

Perkiomen Valley

2Mason Thear434213
3Luke Hansen21216
5JT Brady00000
13Julian Sadler9812632
20Ryan Murphy11214
21Kyle Shawaluk10002
23Shane Nelson00000
44Morgan McKinney512011
55Josh Tagert00000

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