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Kupstas Making the Adjustment to Perkiomen School Basketball
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2018-01-10

            Within the last few weeks, Tautvydas Kupstas has displayed brief flashes of his personality during practice. Kupstas delivered some good-natured ribbing to a

teammate, according to Tom Baudinet, Perkiomen School head coach.

            The coach took the gesture as a sign that the junior guard from Lithuania is adjusting to life in a stange culture.  "Kup is showing more confidence on and off the court," Baudinet said. 

            The 6-foot-2 guard looked comfortable on the floor for the Panthers on Friday, January 5. He scored 18 points to help lead them to a 75-64 victory over West Nottingham Academy. 

            "I like it here," Kupstas said.

            Nick Guadarrama scored a game-high 21 points and added nine rebounds for Perkiomen School (7-3) in its initial game of 2018. KJ Rhodes contributed 15 points, while Chandler Brooks registered 10 points.

            Kupstas, who scored eight of his points in the third quarter, played a significant role running the offense. Baudinet described the player, who is averaging 12 points per game, as a quality scorer and ball handler.  "Kup is a very good player," the coach said. "He can shoot, and he's good good vision."

            According to Baudinet, Kupstas has spoken few words during the season while he adjusts to a new country, language, teammates and new frenetic style of play.

            Kupstas, who had only played in a half-court offense in Lithuania, said it took the first two weeks of practice to acclimate himself to Perkiomen School's fast break approach. He was also used to a much slower defense.          "It's much more intense than I had ever experienced," Kupstas said. "I can't afford to lose focus for even a second."

            The player's defensive lateral footwork has improved significantly, according to Baudinet. Still, the coach said Kupstas rarely speaks on or off the floor.  "Kup is a nice kid, but very quiet right now," the coach wrote in a text message. "Respectful and polite."

            Against the visiting Rams, Perkiomen School utilized a 28-9 second half run to pull away. Eleven points by Guadarrama, and Kupstas' nine-points allowed the team to extend a 39-31 lead early in the third quarter. Titus Wilkins' dunk early in the fourth quarter put it ahead 67-40.

            Baudinet said he liked the fact that the Panthers were able convert a flurry of shots to secure the victory, but lamented the team's other struggles.  "I didn't like a lot more of what I saw than what I liked," the coach said.

            According to Baudinet, his team committed too many fouls, and needs to improve on their newly installed pick and roll trap defense. He said the offense "had too many stagnant possessions."

            Inclement weather forced the cancellation of Monday's home game against Academy of the New Church. Perkiomen School is scheduled to host Phelps School at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12 before taking on Blair Academy, from Blairstown, N.J. at 2 p.m. Sunday.

            The Bucs (10-1), who have won three New Jersey State Prep A titles since 2009, won both their games at the Scholar Roundball Classic at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. last month. They also competed in the BasketBull Hoopfest in Springfield, Mass.


 

 

 

 

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