Basketball education continued for the Upper Perkiomen boys team in a 62-40 loss to the Phoenixville Phantoms at home on Thursday. The rebuilding Indians got schooled in several areas, most notably three-point shooting and rebounding, as they fell to 0-3 in the Frontier Division of the PAC-10.
After Isaiah Stokes (14 points) scored a quick bucket to open the game, the Phantoms overwhelmed the Tribe with an 11-0 run in just 1:46 on the way to a 24-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Phoenixville (1-3, 3-3) utilized a full court press that resulted in seven first quarter turnovers and hit on four 3-pointers in an up-tempo assault that Upper Perk never recovered from.
Most of the damage was done by Phoenixville’s 6’2” junior guard Mike Anthony who tallied 9 of his 14 points, including two treys, in the opening stanza.
“They really did a number on us from the 3-point line,” Upper Perk first-year coach Jared Krupp noted after the game.
The Phantoms did cool considerably from beyond the arc, hitting only two more for the rest of the game, but made up for it by pounding the Tribe on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. Time and again Phoenixville got second, third and fourth tries at the bucket.
“It’s all heart and passion with rebounding, something we have; we didn’t display it tonight, but that’s something we can get to,” said Krupp.
“They got that inside position before we were able to get there. That’s something we’re going to continue to work on and try to get better with in practice.”
The Phantoms’ aggressiveness was reflected in the free throw statistics. In the first half, the Phantoms shot 9 for 13 from the free throw line, helping them build a 34-21 lead at intermission.
Upper Perk (1-5 overall) did not get to the line in the first half.
“We couldn’t match the intensity and tenacity of Phoenixville. They beat us on the glass, and we gave them too many second-chance opportunities.
“Boxing out and crashing for offense boards was not evident in our play tonight, and we were beaten because of it,” Krupp lamented.
The Phantoms opened the second half with a 5-0 run to squelch any thoughts of an Upper Perk comeback. The closest the Tribe would get the rest of the way was 17 points.
Upper Perk finally did find its way to the foul line when junior Erik Stalford was fouled in the act of shooting with 5:51 left in the third quarter.
For the game, Upper Perk was 3 for 7 from the charity stripe. The Phantoms were 16 for 28. Phoenixville’s Christian Kelly scored 8 of his game-high 16 points from the free throw line.
A realistic Krupp was not discouraged by the result and is waiting for the day when the team he sees in practice shows up for the full 32 minutes of a game.
“They take their lumps, but then they learn from them,” Krupp said of his players. “We see growth every day at practice and growth from our games. The kids are smart enough that they can pick out their weaknesses, pick out what we did wrong, and then we can work on it tomorrow.”
Before the game, coach Krupp was presented with a commemorative basketball for his first varsity career win that came against Brandywine Heights earlier this season.
“It was a good feeling, especially coming back from down six,” he said of that game. “They really played defensive-minded, and we want to see that more frequently.”
The Tribe resumes play this weekend in the Christopher Dock Holiday Tournament.