Check out all the results from Saturday’s SOL Challenge. To view photos of the Abington/Cheltenham and CB East/Neshaminy games, please visit the Photo Gallery.
SOL CHALLENGE at Harry S. Truman
WILLIAM TENNENT 48, UPPER MORELAND 43The Golden Bears took a 23-13 lead into halftime and still led 36-27 heading into the final quarter when the Panthers closed out the game with a 21-7 tear.
Connor Spornak sparked the Panthers’ offense in their come-from-behind victory over the Golden Bears, contributing 14 points in the second half. Vinnie Case was also instrumental for the Panthers and had a steal and a layup late in the game to give his team a one-point lead on his way to totaling 13 points for the day. Also making significant contributions were Horace Spencer who added five blocked shots and Mike Wasserleben who chipped in five assists for the Panthers who are now 4-10 on the season. The Golden Bears’ record for the season dropped to 7-8.
SOUDERTON 53, TRUMAN 43
The Indians and the Tigers are both in second place in their respective conferences, which made for an even matchup on Saturday night. The Indians took a 25-20 lead into halftime and stretched that lead to 38-29 heading into the final quarter.
Brendan Wagner led Big Red and recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 16 rebounds. John Kanas also contributed significant scoring in the victory with 16 points. Coach Pete Chimera credits Dan O’Hara with outstanding defense as he held Tigers’ top-scorer Merdic Green to 16 points. The Indians upped their record to 9-5 while the Tigers saw their record drop to 9-7.
SOL Challenge at Central Bucks West
PENNSBURY 60, CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 44
The Falcons, who share second place in the National Conference with Truman, cruised past the Bucks in Saturday’s SOL Challenge. The Falcons held an 11-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter and upped their lead to 31-22 at the half. In the third quarter, the Bucks outscored the Falcons by one, but the Falcons finished off the job with an 18-10 fourth quarter.
Cameron Jones led the Falcons offensively, connecting on four 3-pointers on his way to 22 points for the day while Pierson Burton added 13 and Steve Ciotti chipped in nine. Patrick Kelley led the Bucks’ attack with 11 points, followed by Kyle Salvitti with nine points (all 3-pointers) and Jared Kelly who had 8 points. The Bucks saw their record to drop to 6-9 while the Falcons upped theirs to 10-3.
SOL Challenge at Quakertown
HATBORO-HORSHAM 51, UPPER DUBLIN 41
The Hatters, the top team in the Continental Conference, struggled in the first quarter as the Flying Cardinals outscored them 15-11, but they recovered quickly to take a 21-20 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, the Hatters increased their lead to four (33-29) after outscoring the Cards 12-9 and then blew open the close game in the fourth quarter as they stretched the lead to double digits.
Mike Brown led the Hatters with 17 points while Zach Quattro added 16 and Ryan Kelly, 11 points. For the Flying Cardinals, Andrew Carber scored 17 while Kevin Woods and Simeon Fryer each added eight points. The Hatters improved their overall record to 13-2 while the Cards fell to 4-9.
SOL Challenge at Wissahickon
CHELTENHAM 56, ABINGTON 54
The Panthers have been on a roll in January with a 5-1 record for the month, which includes Saturday’s big win over an Abington squad that is tied for first in the National Conference. The Panthers, who are tied for first place in the American Conference, started off strong and led 12-7 at the end of one quarter as this annual rivalry game got underway.
“For these two schools it’s a playoff atmosphere,” said Panthers’ coach Brian Johnson. “You know this game is going to be a game where both teams get after each other, and we’ve had some unbelievable games over the past few years.”
The second quarter, however, proved to be more troublesome for the Panthers, and they were outscored 24-18 as the Ghosts took a 31-30 lead to halftime.
“In the second quarter, Abington went on big run,” said Johnson. “They pressed us and were able to turn us over early in quarter and went up by six.”
In the third quarter, Johnson said his team started to dictate the tempo once again.
“We adjusted to their pressure,” the Panthers’ coach said. “The third quarter was fairly similar to first quarter - they still pressed us but it wasn’t as impactful.”
The Panthers maintained a lead for much of the third quarter, and they took a 44-43 lead into the final frame and then held on for the big win.
Johnson credited Guy Henderson with a standout performance as he recorded 15 rebounds and 13 points.
“To have 15 rebounds against one of the top teams in the area is pretty significant,” Johnson said. “He’s had a good stretch of five games where he’s been playing at a high level consistently.”
Aaron McGlawn also helped seal the deal in the Panthers’ victory, scoring seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, while teammate Aaron Burton contributed 14 for the day as well. The Ghosts were led by Anthony Durham who had a game-high 17 points along with Matthew Penecale who added nine while Jordan Simmons and Jiere Morrissey each chipped in eight.
The Panthers upped their record to 9-5 while the Ghosts fell to 11-4 overall.
WISSAHICKON 67 VS COUNCIL ROCK NORTH 64 (OT)
The Trojans, who find themselves in a three-way tie for the top spot in the American Conference, upped their winning streak to five after downing one of the National Conference’s first place teams in overtime. The Indians, who saw their 10-game winning streak snapped, seized early control and outscored the Trojans 17-16 in the first quarter and increased that lead to 27-20 by halftime.
Coach Kyle Wilson admits he was a little worried about the seven-point halftime deficit.
“It was a guard game and you don’t want to get behind especially with (Rip) Engel since he’s such a good ball handler,” the Trojans’ coach said of Rock North’s junior point guard.
The Trojans mounted a 24-17 third quarter scoring explosion that cut the Indians’ lead to 45-44 heading into the final frame. Chase Wilson scored 10 points for the Trojans in the pivotal quarter, and Gordon Bentley added a pair of three’s.
Bentley also was assigned the difficult task of keeping Engel below his 20-point average.
“The team helped with good defense,” said Wilson. “It was really nice to see everyone help Gordon so he could stay in front of Rip for most of the night and hold him to 11.”
Both teams battled through the fourth quarter, each taking the lead at some point, but the Indians were able to get up by four until Wilson and Bentley each connected on baskets to knot the game again. With 1:30 left, the Indians attempted to hold the ball and take one last shot for the game-winner, but Wilson drew a charge, and the ball was tuned over to the Trojans with 26 seconds remaining. The Trojans couldn’t connect, and the ball returned to the Indians, whose three-pointer in the final seconds fell short and sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Trojans took the lead after Wilson and Chris Vila each connected.
“Chase had a real nice bucket to put us up by two,” said Wilson. “And Vila had a three that put us up by five, and then it was us holding the ball and taking foul shots.
“It was a really great game between two very good teams. North is one heck of a team.”
The Trojans, who improved to 10-5, were 17-of-20 from the foul line. Chase Wilson led all scorers with 26 points while Vila added 12 and Bentley chipped in 11 for the Trojans who upped their record to 10-5.
The Indians’ balanced attack was led by Chris Rowland who scored 20 points, which included six three-pointers. Kyle McCloskey had 13 points and Knotts and Engel each contributed 11. The Indians fell to 13-2.
SOL Challenge at Central Bucks South
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH 40, PENNRIDGE 39
The Golden Hawks, winners of four of their last five games, are finding their stride in the new year. The Hawks (6-8) were a bit rundown after a tough week of league play, and according to coach John Easterly, it showed in their first half performance as they allowed the Rams to take a 20-17 lead at intermission.
“I think our legs were tired, and we really struggled shooting-wise,” said Easterly. “We’ve been shooting well the past four games.”
Easterly said his Hawks also had trouble adjusting to Pennridge’s style of play in the first half.
“They did a nice job defensively and clogged the middle up and forced us to shoot from the outside,” the Golden Hawks’ coach said. “They’re a very good team, and they run a very unique system.”
The Hawks started to find their stride in the third quarter, and thanks to a strong defensive effort, they limited Pennridge to only nine points but only scored 12 of their own. Still, it was enough to knot the score 29-29 heading into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was a back and fourth affair. With less than a minute remaining, the Rams took a two-point lead, and with 30 seconds remaining, the Golden Hawks called a timeout to set up a play. Easterly admits the play didn’t exactly go as planned, and Pennridge did a good job of shutting it down.
As the play unraveled, Christian Crane drove to the basket only to wind up in a sea of Ram defenders. Crane spotted Will Faccenda in the corner by the team bench and dished him the ball. With five seconds remaining, Faccenda put up the crucial three-pointer that fell through the net to clinch the dramatic victory.
Crane and Faccenda both led the Hawks’ scoring with 12 each, but Easterly credited the play of Mike Stuski as instrumental in the win.
“Stuski came up big,” the Golden Hawks’ coach said. “He did a great job defensively and rebounding, and he had a pivotal layup that cut their lead in the second half.”
Easterly also lauded the 6’1” guard for his defense against a Ram squad with a significant height advantage. The Rams are 8-8 on the season.
NORRISTOWN 61, CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH 35
The Eagles - looking very much the part of a team that shares the top spot in the American Conference standings - jumped out to a 20-7 lead at the end of one quarter and extended that to 35-10 by halftime on their way to the decisive win over their hosts. Josh Johnson led a balanced Eagles’ attack with 15 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. Jahbri Hargrove added 10 points while Luke Kelley had nine points, five assists and six steals. Bernard Gordon had three assists and three steals.
For the Titans, Matt Scamuffo had 10 points, and Adam Tamny added seven. While the Titans fell to 9-6 overall, the Eagles upped their record to 12-3.
SOL Challenge at Bensalem
Central Bucks East 53, Neshaminy34
The Patriots staked out an early lead over the Redskins at the Coaches vs. Cancer SOL Challenge with a 14-10 opening quarter. They increased the lead to 24-19 heading into intermission. In the third quarter, the Patriots used an 18-7 scoring burst to seize control of the game. The Patriots controlled the tempo and racked up 13 offensive rebounds and 12 steals. Tommy Strasburger led East’s defense with four steals. The Patriots were led by Matt Stauffer, who scored a game-high 16 points. Brendan McLaughlin added nine points while Danny Reilly and Kevin Phelps both contributed seven points and eight rebounds. Cole Housel led the ‘Skins with three treys (nine points) while Stephan Tucker chipped in six points. The Patriots evened their overall record at 8-8, while the Redskins (0-15) remain winless on the season.
BENSALEM 59, NORTH PENN 39
The Owls opened up a 15-8 lead at the end of one quarter and never looked back on their way to the big win. Donnie Reed led a balanced Bensalem attack with 16 points while Deion Jones added 11 and Austin Nyekan had 10. Leo Vincent scored eight points and Steve Johnson, seven points. For the Knights, Aaron Dean and Jin Lim both scored 10 points while Jason Jones had eight and Noah Melchoir, seven points.
Bensalem evened its record at 6-6 while North Penn fell to 4-7 on the season.