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Tribe Streaks to Sixth Straight Victory
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2017-12-27

            Twenty-nine points in the fourth quarter carried the Upper Perk boys basketball team to an important 67-59 home victory over the Pottsgrove Falcons last Thursday 

night.

            Coupled with the Indians' 41-40 win over Phoenixville the next evening, the Tribe improved to 3-0 in the Frontier Division of the Pioneer Athletic Conference, 6-1 overall.

            Against the Falcons, Upper Perk overcame an 11 point halftime deficit behind clutch performances down the stretch by Ryan Kendra, Liam Boyle and Will Walker,

            After an electrifying start to the game, with both teams trading fastbreaks and baskets, Pottsgrove took advantage of Walker's foul trouble and uncharacteristic outside shooting woes for Kendra, to take control during a horrid second quarter by the Tribe.

            When the 6'8 Walker had to take a seat halfway through the first quarter, Pottsgrove's path to the basket became an EZ Pass Express Lane. A 12-8 Tribe lead was obliterated by Pottsgrove's 25-8 run leading into halftime.

            "We had no energy at the end of the first half," said guard Liam Boyle. "We talked about it in the locker room."

            Coach Jared Krupp explained the advice he gave his team at halftime."We know the type of grit, the type of character we have. We really needed to dig that out, to be as aggressive as we can: go after buckets, go after the glass, and just be really aggressive."

            Walker helped turn the tide in the third quarter, closing off the lane on defense and scoring eight of his 12 points, as the Indians fought to within three going into the fourth quarter.

            "Having that 6'8, that long wingspan right in the middle really does clog up the floor for them, especially a team like Pottsgrove that really wants to get to the rack as much as they can," said Krupp.

            Rather than play timidly to avoid fouling out, Walker mixed it up at both ends of the floor.

            "I had to be more aggressive, keep my hands up, get to the rack and create offense."

            "He went after rebounds like he was possessed," Krupp noted, "and he got a bunch of put-backs off of that."

            Pottsgrove managed to build the lead back to seven on baskets by Khaliym Smith, Justin Robinson, and Mike Ziegler, but Kendra, versatile enough to take his game inside, hit a short jumper and a layup to keep the Tribe in proximity.

            Walker got the team to within 49-46 with a bucket and then rebounded a Pottsgrove miss to set-up Boyle's three-pointer that knotted the game at 49.

            Then Pottsgrove turned the ball over after a timeout, and Jon Brown fed Kendra for a lay-up and Upper Perk's first lead since the first quarter.

            Kendra lengthened the advantage with a pair of free throws before Robinson and Walker traded buckets to make it 55-51 with 1:30 left in the game.

            Pottsgrove started fouling, but the Tribe responded with Liam Boyle (four free throws), Kendra (two), Sean Boyle (two), and Brown (two) converting free throws. All told the Tribe was 12 for 14 from the line in the fourth quarter.

            "There's a reason why every day we run hard and practice [free throw shooting] right after that," Krupp observed after the game. "It's for moments like this."

            Even with his outside shooting issues, Kendra led the team in scoring with 20 points.

            "That shows the character of our team," said Krupp. "Our number one scorer can have an off night and can be cold, and we can still get buckets from other guys, we can still run our sets."

             Liam Boyle had 19 points and Walker 12. Robinson led Pottsgrove with 20.

            The second half rally against a division rival left the Indians feeling good about themselves.

            Walker said, "We played like an amazing team; our chemistry clicked."

            "That's a huge win," Liam Boyle observed. "Boosts our confidence."


 

 

 

 

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