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Sports Article
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Tribe Basketball Loses Late to Perk Valley
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent

Defense almost sparks upset


            Macauley Swenk's smothering defensive effort against one of the Pioneer Athletic Conference's top scorers keynoted Upper Perkiomen's near-upset of Liberty Division power Perkiomen Valley in a Senior Night game at Upper Perk last Thursday

Senior Brett Miller takes a shot from under the basket

agains Perkiomen Valley in the PAC crossover game.


            The Tribe was tied with the visitors midway through the fourth quarter until a late Viking flurry resulted in PV's 44-37 victory, giving Perkiomen Valley coach Mike Poysden win number 100 for his career.

            Perkiomen Valley, now tied for first in the Liberty Division, relies heavily on the scoring of forward Tyler Strechay, who had dropped 21 points on Boyertown in the Vikings' previous game.

            Swenk was assigned the difficult task of guarding Strechay and was effective enough to limit the Viking star to only 10 points, helping the Tribe stay in the game.

            "I was just trying to keep him in front of me and hold him from going backdoor," Swenk said afterward. "He's a really good shooter, so I wanted to try and keep my hand in his face as much as I could."

           Swenk embraced the opportunity. "It's the first time I've been given a face guard assignment this whole year. I looked forward to it, especially on Senior Night."

            "Strechay's a dynamic player," noted Upper Perk head coach Jared Krupp.  "He can beat you on the block, he can beat you from three. Macauley did a great job. It was great to see him commit to that role, being the faceguard on their best player."

            Perkiomen Valley finally shook off the dogged Indians late in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer by the Tribe's Drew Kupchak (six points) knotted the score at 32 with 4:18 left in the game.

            But Viking senior Zachary Krause  (21 points) nailed a pair of treys, sandwiched around an Upper Perk turnover, to give the visitors a 38-32 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish.

            Despite the result on the scoreboard, Krupp gave his squad a "nine out of ten" for the effort against Perk Valley.

            "I thought we could have cleaned up on a couple of things here and there. We had some silly turnovers that I wish we would have had back, but overall, these guys came to fight. They believe they can beat a good team like Perk Valley, and we hung with them the whole time."

            Swenk limited Strechay to just four points in a physical, low scoring first half that saw the Vikings (14-4, 7-2) carry a 16-12 lead into the locker room at the break.

            "The first half was rough," Swenk noted. "Nothing was falling."

            The Tribe was 5-for-26 on field goal attempts, including 0-for-5 from 3-point land.

            Perk Valley wasn't much better.

            The Vikings, however, found their touch and threatened to run away early in the second half. Two Strechay free throws and a pair of buckets by Krause gave the Vikings a ten-point lead with just over three minutes gone in the third quarter.

            But bolstered by the play of sophomore guard Hunter Flack (11 points, three assists, three steals) and the energy of Riley Decker (six points) off the bench, the Tribe (2-16, 1-8) cut the deficit to 28-24 by the end of the third quarter.

            "I think it's been great to see Hunter kind of takeover and take the reins and also embrace that role," Krupp said.

             "It's tough for a tenth grader to say 'All right, I'm going to be steering the ship'. But it's really cool to see him taking that leadership, being the point guard, not being afraid to get in there and score."

            Krupp also praised Decker, another sophomore. "It's also cool to see Riley get in there and not be afraid to go bang down low with some six-five post players."

            The Tribe ends its season with games on Friday and Monday, and the team is hoping to go out with a positive vibe.

            "I think lately we've been playing a lot better," Swenk said. "I think the chemistry between all of us just took time to grow."






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