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Turnovers Plague Upper Perk Girls in Loss to Pope John Paul
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2019-12-11

           The turnover-prone Upper Perk girls basketball team fell at home to Pope John Paul, 53-19, in the Pioneer Athletic Conference opener for both teams on Tuesday evening.

            The Tribe turned the ball over 35 times, 18 times in the first half, as the injury-

Ayden Pigeon looks to take a shot in the opening
minutes of Tuesday night's game against Pope John
Paul II.

riddled Golden Panthers, playing their first game of the year, took a 12-2 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.

            "That's why we preach defense first," noted PJP coach TJ Lonergan. "Defense, at least, allowed us to maintain a lead throughout the first quarter and then build on it moving forward when we started to get a little more comfortable."

            After Hannah Keeney (nine points) gave Upper Perk (0-1, 0-3) a 2-0 lead with a lay-up, the Tribe went 10:38 without a field goal until Keeney's bucket cut the Panthers lead to 19-5. 

            Sophomore Tess Crossan (nine points) and junior Kayla Ciuba (10 points) fueled Pope John Paul's first-half run with eight points apiece.

            In the third quarter, easily Upper Perk's best period of the game, Upper Perk first-year head coach Matt Bowe thought his team "played to their strengths, not their weaknesses."

            The Tribe was outscored only 13-9 as Keeny put up five of her points and Olivia Rogers added three, but the home team trailed 39-14 after three quarters.

            Bowe saw his team's third-quarter intensity as a positive sign, coming off two big losses in the Tulpehocken Tip-Off Tournament last weekend.

            "The way that we came out (after the half) makes me very, very proud because they didn't think anything about the weekend. They played their hearts out for four quarters."

            But the turnover problem reared up again in the fourth stanza. During one stretch, the Tribe gave up the ball without a shot on nine straight possessions. Bowe attributed part of the problem to fatigue. However, he was pleased with the overall effort.

            "It wasn't about a win or a loss. It was about us playing the full length of the game."

            The coach hopes that the other players adopt the Hannah Keeney style of play.

            "There was a time with 53 seconds to go in the game when she hustled from one end of the court to the other. You can't teach that. She could have given up and she didn't. That just shows me she's a team player."

            Lonergan was happy with his team's effort also.

            "We have a very young team, and we're banged up right now. We're just trying to get healthy, but I thought tonight, Tess (Crossan), our point guard, played very well driving the ball once she settled down in the second quarter."

            Sophomore Amelia Kennedy led the Panthers with 12 points.

            Pope John Paul took the JV game also, 36-17. Bailey Cahill and Mackenzie Schaffer had six points apiece for the Tribe.

            As for the weekend games, the Indians were routed, 50-10, in the opening round of the Tulpehocken Tip-Off Tournament. Rogers and Keeney each finished with three points. Emma Steffon and Jenna Haines both scored two points.

            In the consolation round the following day, the Tribe lost, 59-25, to Biglerville. Haines scored a team-high 12 points. Ayden Pigeon, Kelsey Bernhart and Keeney each scored three points. Three other players scored.

            Upper Perk hosts Upper Merion on Friday night and travels to Pottsgrove next Tuesday.


 

 

 

 

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