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Tribe Defeats Perkiomen in Season Finale
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2016-02-10

Perkiomen's Ja'ren Hampton and Upper Perk's Nolan Graber wrestle for a loose ball in last Thursday night's game between the cross-town schools.

        Nick Groff jogged towards the defensive end of the floor waving his left fist over his right palm.

        "Nick was eating [gloating]," said Ryan Kendra, a sophomore on Upper Perkiomen's boys basketball team.

        Groff's 3-point basket, with approximately one minute left in the third quarter staked the Indians to a 10-point lead over Perkiomen School.

        His 3-pointer from the top of the key in the waning seconds of the third quarter put them ahead by 11 points.

        "Those shots were gigantic," said Jared Krupp, Upper Perkiomen's head coach. "They lifted our spirits, and got everyone in the gym excited."

        Those shots helped carry the team to a 65-52 non-league victory over Perkiomen School on Thursday, Feb. 4.

        Kendra finished with a game-high 18 points for the Indians (4-18 overall), who ended their season with consecutive victories. Liam Boyle contributed 17 points, while Ryan Sitko added 10 points.

        "This is what we've talked about all season in terms of playing a complete game," Krupp said. "It was great to send out the seniors the way we did. They could finally see what we could do."

        Krupp's team ran its offense with poise. The coach noted its crisp ball movement. Sitko drove to the basket with authority. Kendra, Boyle and Sitko released their shots with confidence. The trio combined for six of Upper Perkiomen's eight 3-pointers.

        "I'm eager to start next season right away," said Boyle, a sophomore forward. "This team has shown it has so much talent. "But I'm disappointed we don't have any more games to play this season."

        Groff, a junior guard, came off the bench in the third quarter to deliver the two game's biggest 3-point shots.

        Five consecutive points by Martynas Simanavicius pulled the visiting Panthers – who trailed by 12 points early in the second quarter – to within 35-30 with 3:31 remaining in the third.

        However, the Indians maintained their poise. Groff drained a 3-pointer from the left baseline with approximately one minute remaining in quarter to put them ahead 46-35. His gesture sent his teammates and the raucous student section into a further frenzy.

        "Nick is really clutch," Kendra said.

        Perkiomen School head coach Mark Longstreth described Groff's baskets as pivotal.

        In the fourth quarter, Upper Perkiomen scored 12 of the initial 13 points. Christian Zera's driving layup early in the fourth capped a 12-1 run and staked the team to a 58-36 lead.

        Simanavicius scored 11 points and Miles Longstreth added nine points for Panthers pulled within 14 points down the stretch, but got no closer.

        "Upper Perkiomen played really well," the coach said.

        According to Mark Longstreth, his team missed too many close shots. The coach also said it was a step too slow on defense.

        "A lot of the shots we missed, we normally make," he said.

        On Monday, the Panthers opened the Tri-County Independent School League playoffs against visiting Renaissance Academy. Perk won, 52-38.  According to Mark Longstreth, they must prepare for post-season opponents with varying styles.

        "Upper Perkiomen played less one-on-one than the teams will likely be facing," the coach said.


 

 

 

 

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