QUAKERTOWN >> It is never easy to win on the road in a solid high school basketball conference. Even if you are first-place Pennridge, heading into eighth-place Quakertown, trying to win an outright Suburban One League Continental Conference championship.
The Rams saw themselves down 25-17 to the Panthers when they went on a 13-0 run to take the lead and the SOL Continental crown in a 77-60 victory.
“I thought the second quarter the big thing was we kind of slowed them down defensively,” Pennridge’s Dan Long said. “That kind of led to some run outs for us and good things happened from there.
Long was the star of the night for Rams, scoring 33 points in every possible way for the Rams. The senior guard hit five threes in the game.
“I think getting into the paint was a big thing,” Long said. “I could kick out to teammates. Steve (Lowry) did a great job of knocking down shots.”
Lowry finished with 14 points in the game.
Max Wagner was a force on the inside for the Rams, blocking shots defensively and scoring 18 points on the offensive end.
The story of the first quarter was Quakertown’s Griffin Schmidt. The guard, who became the Panthers’ all-time leading scorer Tuesday night, scored all 13 points for Quakertown in the opening frame. Schmidt finished the game with 17.
Long and Wagner combined to match him as much as they could, but could only manage 11 points between them to end the opening eight minutes down two.
The second quarter turned into something out of the Golden State Warriors playbook, as both teams started shooting and making a lot of threes. The first two of the quarter came from Quakertown’s Ryan Howard, but were answered by Long with two of his own.
In all the first seven made field goals of the second quarter were from behind the arc.
The Rams’ 13-0 run in the second, which included four consecutive steals, coincided with Sean Yoder checking into the game. The freshman scored three straight buckets to cap the run. In all Pennridge finished the first half on a 16-5 run to go into the half with a 33-30 lead.
As much as the first quarter was about Schmidt, the third was the Danny Long show. The senior scored 12 in the quarter as his team’s lead ballooned from three to 17. In all the Rams outscored Quakertown 27-13 in the third.
Pennridge opened the third on an 8-0 run as well, totaling a 24-5 spanning the end of the second quarter and start of the third.
Nick Drosnock had 20 points to pace Quakertown behind six threes and two nine-point quarters.
The conference title is Pennridge’s third straight — the last two outright — an accomplishment not to be taken lightly.
“That’s really special,” Rams head coach Dean Behrens said. “At my age it’s not about the coach, it’s about the kids. Which is kind of neat.”