At first glance, the Upper Perkiomen’s boys basketball game this past Saturday against visiting Quakertown was very similar to a previous meeting between the two squads a month earlier.
But if one were to talk to Indians head coach Jared Krupp, he’d be quick to point out there weren’t a whole lot of similarities in the two games besides the score.
Back on Dec. 7, Upper Perk squared off against the Panthers in the consolation game of the Southern Lehigh Tipoff Tournament. In that game, Quakertown got out to a quick lead and held on from there for a 56-41 victory.
Fast forward to this past Saturday, when the Indians played host to the Panthers. The scores by quarter were eerily similar to the first go-round, as Quakertown again prevailed, this time 57-34.
According to Krupp, it was easy to pinpoint exactly what went wrong this past Saturday.
“We didn’t execute basketball fundamentals, and Quakertown took advantage of that,” he said. “We turned the ball over 17 times. Any time you give another team 17 extra opportunities to score, they will take advantage of it.”
Upper Perk also struggled from beyond the arc, as the team shot 0-15 from three-point land, and 42 percent from the line.
In the two teams’ first meeting, Krupp said his team was still trying to mesh as a team while trying to find its identity. “We were still working on how to fully execute on offense and defense,” he said. “We were still in the learning stages of the season.”
One bright spot for the Indians (1-8) was Frankie Kennedy. The 6-foot senior had an active day, especially on the offensive glass as he pulled down six rebounds and helped out with seven points.
“Frankie Kennedy played with aggression,” Krupp said. “He put himself and his teammates in scoring positions because of the intensity he displayed. Sometimes that tenacity can get him in foul trouble, but Frankie is one of those guys that wants to dive into the scrums underneath the net, and when he does, good things happen for us.”
Kennedy was the third-leading scorer against Quakertown (2-6), paced by Isaiah Stokes’ 10 points and an eight-point showing from junior Nate Weinstein. Matt Ruskey chipped in with five points, and Spensir Millsip and Josh Wynder both added a bucket.
Quakertown got out to an early lead and never looked back, as the visitors took a 12-4 edge into the first quarter. Upper Perk couldn’t climb out of the early hole and fell behind 30-11 at halftime. In the second half, Upper Perk kept it close as the Panthers outscored the Tribe 27-23.
The Panthers, a member of the Suburban One Continental Conference, are 0-3 in the division. Its only two wins of the year have come against the Indians, as the team has been outscored 197-126 under the direction of head coach Kevin Keeler.
Things won’t get any easier for Upper Perk, either. Starting Jan. 7, the Indians will play six Pioneer Athletic Conference games in a 10-day stretch against the likes of Spring-Ford, Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts, Pottstown, Methacton and Perkiomen Valley.
“The next 10 days our focus will be on executing the fundamentals needed to be successful,” Krupp said. “Those being: limiting our turnovers, pursuing rebounds and being active on the defensive end of the floor. If we can take care of these crucial elements of the game, I believe we can compete with the teams we will be facing in the next few days.”