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Sports Article
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Indians Basketball Starts Season Slow
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Correspondent

The Indians' Matt Ruskey, center, fights to hold onto the ball at the basket after grabbing a rebound in last Thursday night's home game against Pottsgrove. 

                Once the Upper Perkiomen boys basketball team can figure out how to minimize its turnovers, the team will be able to compete in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, according to head coach Jared Krupp.  "Without a doubt," he said. "The future of this program looks bright."

                However, five games into the season the Indians have struggled to take care of the basketball.  According to Krupp, the miscues are a major reason they entered Tuesday afternoon's makeup home game against Phoenixville 0-3 in the conference and 0-5 overall.

                The coach said several of the team's inexperienced players are still learning how to function properly in its motion offense.

                Coming to grips with the substitution pattern has also been a challenge, according to Krupp.  "We need to have all five guys on the floor working in unison," he said. "Just like the five fingers that make a fist."

                Some of the Indians are struggling to overcome the nerves of playing in a varsity game, according to senior point guard Matt Ruskey.  "You can't get scared when you're playing under the bright lights," he said following an 81-54 loss to visiting Pottsgrove on Dec. 18. "Everyone needs to buckle down."

                Krupp expressed confidence that the Indians can overcome the issues. The mistakes are correctable, he said.  "Every game we get a little better," Krupp said. "And the players recognize their mistakes. It's just a matter of time until we figure this out."

                Ruskey said he often comes down harder on his teammates in practice than the coach.

                "As a senior, it's all on me," said Ruskey, who paced the Indians with 12 points. "I am the leader on the floor."

                According to the coach, turnovers helped cost them a 77-45 loss to Pottstown on Dec. 12. The host Trojans built a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised to victory. Spensir Millsip paced Upper Perkiomen with 10 points.

                Following a five-day layoff – which included the Dec. 16 cancellation of the game against the Phantoms which was precipitated by the law enforcement manhunt for Bradley W. Stone, the Pennsburg resident who killed six people in three Montgomery County communities the day before – the Indians committed 22 first-half turnovers against Pottsgrove.

Jaden Wade scored eight points in the quarter, and Tyler Hibbs added eight in the first half to help stake the Falcons to a 33-20 halftime lead.

                Pottsgrove utilized a trapping defense to force several errant passes in the first half.

                "We gave the Falcons too many chances," Krupp said. "In the first half, we gave them 22 additional offensive possessions. "With as much size and length as they have, they don't need any help."

                The Indians pulled within 42-28 midway through the third quarter on a layup by freshman Ryan Kendra, who also finished with 12 points.

                But Pottsgrove responded with a 22-6 flurry to lead 64-34 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

                On Saturday against Pope John Paul II, Upper Perkiomen dropped a 64-42 loss at Pope John Paul II.  Kendra delivered a team-high 16 points and  Ruskey scored 10 for the Indians, who managed just two points in the second quarter and trailed 28-13 at halftime.

                Mikey Cianciulli secored a game-high 20 points and Nick Giampietro added 19 for the Panthers, who extended their lead by seven points during the third quarter.






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