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Sports Article
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Perkiomen School Boys Basketball Team Hoping to Build Continuity, Cohesion
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent

Perkiomen's Martynas Simanavicius takes aim at the basket as a Woodlynde player tries to stop him in last Thursday's first home game of the season. Perkiomen beat Woodlynde, 55-31.

                Two weeks after transferring to Perkiomen School, Charlie Corrao says he is growing comfortable with his new environment.

                On the basketball court, practice is shorter than he is used to, according to Corrao. He said the Panthers' offense features fewer set plays than his previous team.  "The transition has been somewhat disruptive," said Corrao, who previously attended Souderton Area High School. "But I'm finally starting to get in the groove."

                This season the Panthers, who lost three of their initial four games, face a similar challenge. The team features one returning starter, Paulius Zalys, and three returning players – Miles Longstreth, Joshua Cruz and Aidan O'Brien – without any varsity experience in the program.

                The rest of the roster is made up of players new to basketball or new to Perkiomen School, according to head coach Mark Longstreth.

                The Panthers have the potential to be a very good defensive team, according to the coach. He said the offense is still working to develop patience.  "As incomplete as this team is right now, I see a big upside," Longstreth said.

                The offensive cohesion will probably come within two weeks, according to Corrao.

                "We're going to keep working hard on it in practice," he said. "Eventually, we will get it."

                The Panthers have the size and athleticism to limit the opposition's offense, according to Longstreth.  "When we work together we can defend very well," the coach said. "We have to work on our continuity."

                Longstreth said he expects Corrao – a 6-foot-8 post player – to anchor that effort.

                "Charlie does a great job clogging up the middle," the coach said. "And he's a very good passer."

                On Saturday against Pennington School, Corrao scored two points, blocked two shots and pulled down five rebounds.

                However, Perkiomen School couldn't contain the visiting Red Raiders, who posted a 63-41 victory.

                Isiah Taylor scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half to stake Pennington School to a 33-19 halftime lead.

                Elijah Wright registered eight of his 12 points during a 20-0 second half flurry that secured the victory for Pennington School, the two-time defending New Jersey Prep B state champion.

                Midway through the third quarter, the Panthers pulled within 37-26 on a layup by Zalys - who along with Dillon Larkin - finished with a team-high 10 points.

                However, the Red Raiders utilized superior guard play to mount the decisive run. They pressured Perkiomen School's ball handers near midcourt, forcing several turnovers.

                Dunks by Wright and Andrew Clark on consecutive possessions capped the outburst for Pennington School.

                Corrao, who felt the game shifting, attempted to alert his teammates.  "We're getting better at making those adjustments every day," he said. "I'm noticing that we play a little bit better each time out."

                In its season opener on Dec. 4, Perkiomen School lost, 55-53, on the road to the Academy of the New Church. Martynas Simanavicius scored a game-high 18 points, while Zalys added 11 points.

                A 60-46 non-league road loss to Friends Central followed on Dec. 10. Zayls and Simanavicius each lead the Panthers with 10 points.

                Corrao scored a game-high 15 points to lead Perkiomen School to its first win of the season, 55-31, over Woodlynde School on Dec. 11. Eight of his points came in the first quarter, while Larkin finished with 10 points.






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