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Defensive Issues Plague Tribe Boys
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-01-19

            Defensive issues have plagued Upper Perkiomen's boys basketball team. The inability, at times, to contain the opposition has impacted its performance at the other end of the floor, according to head coach Michael DeCarolis.

            "When we are playing good defense, it gets other aspects of our game going," he said.

Despite the emergence of Aidan Keyser and the surprising return of Nick Aron, the Indians have lost five consecutive games, including their most recent game in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. On Tuesday, they fell 65-39 to visiting Pope John Paul II.

            Over the weekend, Upper Merion utilized effective outside shooting to hand Upper Perk a 66-47 loss. On Thursday, Jan. 13, early foul trouble helped doom the Tribe to a 67-38 loss to Perkiomen Valley.

            Against Upper Merion the Tribe exceeded its season average of 41 points. Adam Shaak delivered a team-high 14 points while Marco Montero added 10. Aron, playing with a soft cast on his right hand, finished with eight points in 16 minutes off the bench.

            Upper Perk couldn't overcome a solid shooting performance by the Vikings, who tallied 11 3-point buckets. DeCarolis said his team tried to prevent Upper Merion from driving to the basket, but, early on, the Vikings forced the action offensively.

            The Tribe's focus on attempting to shut down Upper Merion drives opened up

Upper Perk's Peter Nguyen attempts a shot as an 

Upper Merion player goes up for the block in Sat-

urday's game

multiple shooting opportunities, noted DeCarolis.

            Upper Merion took advantage, building a 23-11 lead through one quarter. The Vikings registered five 3-pointers in the initial eight minutes. Ethan Ngyuen delivered four of them. "They have some outstanding athletes," DeCarolis said.

            In the second quarter, Shaak scored five of his team's eight points. The Indians – who trailed 43-19 at halftime – had a lot of offensive opportunities, note DeCarolis. However, he said the several close shots did not fall.

            The Tribe tried numerous defenses in the first half with the intent of delivering a spark, related DeCarolis. However, he said Upper Merion "played a real sharp game."

Three days earlier, against Perkiomen Valley, foul trouble contributed to an early disadvantage for the visiting Indians who played the majority of the first half against Perkiomen Valley with three starters on the bench.

            Still, UP trailed by only 14 points (28-14) at halftime. DeCarolis credited his reserves for keeping them in the game.

            Perkiomen Valley made the most of eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter to build a 16-5 lead. The Indians were also dealing with a significant height disadvantage. "It was harder for us to rebound because their size forced us to play some zone defense," he said. "We're a man-to-man team. I feel like we're not as aggressive as we need to be," said DeCarolis.

            Keyser, a 6-foot-3 sophomore post player, has made five consecutive starts for the Indians. He made the most of his opportunity created by the absence of senior centers Isaac Wallace and Dustin Hurlbrink. "Aidan was ready for the moment," DeCarolis said. "He is fearless. One of the things we love about him is that he wants the big moment."

            Aron, who the coach previously said would miss the rest of the season with a right thumb injury, has played the last four games. DeCarolis – who admitted surprise that the senior point guard was allowed to return – said the player appears to be adapting to the soft splint.

            "Nick's leadership is invaluable," the coach said of Aron, who played briefly Jan. 11 against Pottsgrove after missing the previous eight games. "The guys were waiting for him to come back."


 

 

 

 

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