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Tribe Boys Fall in Fleetwood Tournament
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-01-02

            For a while over the weekend, a holiday tournament title seemed within the grasp of the Upper Perkiomen's boys basketball team. However, a nine-point halftime

Drew Kupchak, a senior forward, drives to the basket. He
scored nine points to help Upper Perkiomen to a 54-49 win
over Brandywine Heights.

lead in the 56th Annual Tigers Classic Tournament at Fleetwood High School quickly evaporated.

            The team managed just 11 second-half points in the title game Saturday afternoon. The host Tigers rallied for a 48-33 victory.

            Hunter Flack and Sean Boyle represented the Indians (2-8) on the All-Tournament team. Max Lafranchise earned the MVP award by delivering a game-high 17 points to pace Fleetwood.

            Upper Perkiomen advanced to the title game with a 54-49 victory over Brandywine Heights on Friday. Flack scored a game-high 21 points. Boyle added 17 points on three 3-point goals to avenge a 62-49 home loss on Dec. 12.

            "We're making progress," first year head coach Brandon Hibbler said after the victory. "We came into the game with one win and we're playing in a tournament championship game. What more could you ask for? We did it the right way."

            Kupchak finished with nine points. Cole Kendra's ball handling in the fourth quarter helped the team fight off a late-rally by the Bullets. Boyle converted four foul shots in the final 33.9 seconds, including both ends of a one-and-one with 12.3 seconds left to avenge an early season loss in the series.

            "Our leadership stepped up," Hibbler said. The guys showed they could handle the ball."

           The Indians built a 41-30 lead through three quarters. However, Andy Ludwig kept Brandywine Heights in the game. Ludwig scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds remaining pulled his team within 52-49.

            Upper Perkiomen's defense limited the Bullets, whose 1,000 point scorer John Harrison was on the bench with foul trouble, to just seven points in the second quarter. Hibbler credited that to a solid defensive effort.

            "So long as we keep teams below 60 points, we have a chance to win," the coach said. "Seven or eight of our guys played great defense. Whenever you get that, good things are going to happen."

            Hibbler highlighted the effort of Kupchak. The coach described the 6-foot-1 senior forward as an interior presence.

            "Drew is a big kid who plays lock down defense," Hibbler said.

            Kupchak, who had an off night offensively, said he felt like the ideal candidate to emerge as the complement to the team's dominant guard duo since he has more varsity experience than most of his teammates. While he struggles with his shot, his focus is attacking the rim and playing solid defense.

            Despite falling behind 12-2 late in the first quarter, Upper Perkiomen took control of the game in the second quarter. Boyle scored eight points during the quarter despite a box-and-one defense against him. Flack added seven points.

            Kendra's layup, off a steal and an assist from Flack, opened a 15-12 lead midway through the second quarter. The Tribe ended the quarter with five consecutive points. Flack's off-balance shot staked it to a 26-19 halftime advantage.

            Flack, a junior point guard, added eight points in the third quarter. His consecutive baskets ballooned the lead to 40-26 midway through the quarter.

            "Going into the fourth quarter, we controlled our own destiny," Flack said.

            In the title game, the Indians outscored Fleetwood 15-4 in the second quarter to build a 22-13 halftime advantage. But they managed only two points in the third quarter.

            The host Tigers reeled off 13 points in the third and an additional 22 points in the fourth quarter to secure the title. Will Ryan, a 6-foot-3 center, finished with 14 points

            Flack scored a team-high 16 points for the Tribe. Kupchak added 10 points.


 

 

 

 

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