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Sports Article
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Letdown Hurts Tribe Following Milestone Victory
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The emotional letdown Michael DeCarolis implored his players to battle through, following a milestone victory, couldn't be avoided. Upper Perkiomen's defense struggled early in a 60-42 loss to Oley Valley last weekend.

Marco Montero prepares to shoot over an Oley

Valley defender on Jan. 8.

            "The players learned a difficult lesson about what it takes to be successful," said DeCarolis, the team's first-year head coach.

            Kyle Clancy scored a team-high 13 points. Dan Carpenter added 12 points for the Indians (1-3 PAC, 2-9 overall), who absorbed the non-league loss on Saturday Jan. 8 without Nick Aron.

            The 6-foot senior point guard is expected to miss the entire season with a hand injury he suffered in mid-December, according to the coach.

            DeCarolis expressed concern that the Tribe would not exhibit the passion and fire, especially on defense, it displayed in its first Pioneer Athletic Conference in more than two seasons. Three days earlier, the hung on for a 50-48 victory over Phoenixville.

            The Indians scored a season-high in points, registering their first win in the conference since a 51-45 victory over Pottsgrove on December 17, 2019.

            According to DeCarolis, the coaching staff made it priority to boost the players' confidence against visiting Oley Valley.

            However, the Indians couldn't contain Keith Neal and Danni Turchi. Neal, a 6-foot-1 junior, posted a game-high 16 points for Oley Valley. Turchi, a 6-foot-2 senior, along with freshman Ben Debalko, each added 12 points.  "Turchi really hurt us," DeCarolis said. "We need to play better defense. We can't allow the opposition to score in the 60s. I don't think we had too many baskets in transition."

            Despite a slow start, the Tribe kept the game close deep into the third quarter. Utilizing an 11-0 run that started in the second quarter, the team cut into a 31-11 deficit.

            Carpenter delivered five points before halftime. Clancy converted two baskets midway through the third quarter to pull his team within 31-22.

            But the Lynx reeled off a 12-2 flurry to secure control. Two free throws by Neal 32 seconds into the fourth quarter put them ahead 43-24.  "The third quarter has been really rough for us all season," said Clancy, a 6-foot-6 post player from Pennsburg who delivered 10 rebounds and three steals.

            Early on, the Indians struggled from the field. They converted just 3-of-13 shots from the field in the first quarter.

            Oley Valley took advantage, building an 18-6 advantage at the end of the quarter. The lead expanded to 30-11 on Neal's 3-point goal from the left corner with 2:30 remaining in the second quarter.

            On Jan. 6, the Tribe built a 24-12 halftime lead and hung on for the victory over the Phantoms. Adam Shaak scored a team-high 14 points. Clancy and Carpenter each added 13 points. Carpenter converted three 3-point goals.

            According to DeCarolis, the team benefited from the first-half absence of Gabe Massenburg, Phoenixville's 6-foot-7 post player, due to foul trouble. Massenburg scored all of his eight points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to prevent Upper Perkiomen's win.

            Clancy described the victory over the Phantoms as proof that his team can compete. He expressed confidence that the Indians will work out their offensive issues.

            The Indians suffered a 61-48 conference defeat to Pottsgrove on Tuesday. Shaak delivered a game-high 16 points.

            Ian Keyser scored 12 points, and Carpenter added 10 for the Tribe, which scored just six points in the second quarter.






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