Upper Perk's Nate Weinstein takes a shot at the basket during the third quarter of last Thursday night's non-league game against Brandywine.
Talk about experiencing both sides of the spectrum.
Upper Perkiomen’s boys basketball team got a taste of the full emotional gamut this past week in a non-league game against Brandywine followed up by the Pioneer Athletic Conference opener at Pottsgrove.
It all started out well last Thursday night as the Indians posted a come-from-behind victory at home against the Bullets. One day later, the tides were turned as the Falcons flexed some muscle and posted a 29-point victory.
Against Brandywine, Upper Perk trailed the visitors by a six-point spread at the half, 27-21. The Indians’ (1-0, 1-3) offense climbed out in the third quarter, thanks to an energized defense that created scoring opportunities offensively. The catalyst behind that defensive effort was Mike Winters, who was assigned the task of shutting down the Bullets’ top threat in post player Sean Ziegler.
Winters, a 6-foot-5 senior, was up to the task as he pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with seven blocked shots. Offensively, Isaiah Stokes poured in 22 points and senior Josh Wynder tallied 12 points. The collective effort helped propel the Tribe to a 47-42 win to give first-year head coach Jared Krupp his first victory.
“I thought we fought hard to bring ourselves back out of a six-point deficit from halftime,” Krupp said. With junior guard Matt Ruskey and Stokes in foul trouble during the second half, the team was without two key weapons. But that defensive effort, headed up by Winters, helped turn the tide.
“That’s a key thing we are trying to teach our team; that defensive energy will lead to offensive production,” Krupp said. “Brandywine couldn’t run their offense through Ziegler because of Winters. The coaches were also impressed with how the team played as a unit. We had 10 assists, four from Ruskey and four from Wynder, and that type of passing and team play brought offensive production. Ultimately, I am really proud of how we acted as a team, hustled at all times, and fought back for the win after being down at the half.”
Unfortunately for Upper Perk, the team didn’t get to savor the thrill of victory. Less than 24 hours after the Brandywine win, the Indians took the trip south to Pottsgrove, where they were handed an 84-55 setback. Though winless coming into the game, Pottsgrove used its outside shooting to stake out a lead it wouldn’t relinquish early on. The Falcons (1-0, 1-3) had five players finish in double figures as Nazir Goldston paced them all with a game-high 20 points.
Upper Perk was again led by a solid effort from Stokes. The junior scored 19 points, including a trio of treys, and pulled down 10 boards as Nate Weinstein tallied 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Ruskey helped out the cause with a six-point effort and Wynder drained a three-pointer.
“Pottsgrove is a superior team and they beat us in all areas of the game,” Krupp said. “We didn’t take care of the ball or play with the defensive energy that we needed to defend a powerful team like Pottsgrove. We learned a lot from that game and plan on working on the areas that need work at practice this week.”