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Tribe Boys Battling Fatigue, Schedule
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A very challenging season for the Upper Perkiomen boys basketball team is winding down. According to head coach Brandon Hibbler, the players are frustrated,

Nick Aron attempts a twisting layup against a defen-

der from Pope John Paul II High School on Monday.

hurting and mentally worn down.  "They've never been through anything like this," he said.

            Late last week, the Indians (0-10) completed a stretch of three games in three days with a 28-point loss to Pottsgrove. According to Hibbard, they shot as many air-balls as they scored baskets due to tired legs.

            Due to that fatigue, the coach opted not to schedule practice in the two days prior to the team's 79-31 loss to Pope John Paul II on Monday. Though the Tribe remains winless, Hibbard expressed no issues with his players' effort. He said the conditions created by the novel coronavirus have wreaked havoc on the entire Pioneer Athletic Conference.

            "All the coaches feel the same way," he said. "This is not how high school athletics should be. It's not the school's fault. This is the way the cards have been dealt."

            Due to the compressed schedule, the team has played three games a week for most of the season. Hibbler said his team has held just five practices in the last 28 days.  "Top athletes, surrounded by top doctors and trainers, aren't even equipped to deal with this kind of a schedule," the coach said. "We're asking these kids to climb a mountain."

            The coach figures the inability to work on the finer points of the game and the demanding schedule has cost his team at least two wins. The unusual season has worn on the players, according to Adam Shaak.  "We're pretty tired and frustrated," said Shaak, a junior swingman who lives in East Greenville. "We feel like we let a few games slip away because he haven't been able to practice very much."

            On Wednesday, Feb. 10, the Indians came out strong against Owen J. Roberts. They built a 24-9 lead through one quarter.  However, the visiting Wildcats clawed back the lead. They overcame an 18-point deficit to post a 52-42 victory, rallying from a nine-point halftime deficit.

Owen J. Roberts limited the Tribe to just 11 points in the second half. Shaak scored a team-high 17 points, while Jack Cupitt added 14.

            The following night, Perkiomen Valley posted a 54-24 victory. The team never trailed.

Shaak finished with a team-high 10 points for the Indians, who scored six points in each quarter. Dan Carpenter contributed eight points.

            By the time the Tribe traveled to Pottsgrove the following night, they were physically exhausted, according to Hibbler. He said the players began to show fatigue in the second quarter of a 60-32 loss. The host Falcons utilized a 14-2 third-quarter run to extend a 22-12 halftime lead.

            Shaak and Cupitt each scored a team-high six points for the Tribe. The two have emerged as consistent scorers to complement point guard Nick Aron's offensive contribution, according to Hibbler.  "We need to find a few more," he said.

            Shaak, who confirmed that the team has discovered a good offensive flow, said he's still adjusting to additional attention from defenses. Most of his scoring opportunities come off screens.  "Adam does the basic things very well," Hibbler said. "He's a good piece moving forward for the program."

            Against the Panthers, Upper Perkiomen started strong, trailing 15-11 at the end of one quarter. However, Pope John Paul II pulled away in the second quarter on the strength of a 23-7 run.

            Dan Carpenter, a sophomore swingman listed at 5-foot-11, and Dustin Hurlbrink, a 6-foot-3 junior center, each scored six points to lead the Indians. Shaak finished with five points.





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