Upper Perk senior Brian Kraft takes a shot in Friday night's home game against Pottsgrove.
Indians fall 52-38 against a tough Golden Panthers team
The Upper Perk boys basketball team’s 52-38 defeat at the hands of Pope John Paul on Tuesday night was not a total loss in the eyes of coach Bruce Schmidt. Instead, it was another step in the right direction as the program seeks respectability.
The game boiled down to a battle between the inside game of the Golden Panthers and the outside shooting of the Tribe. PJP’s height, in the form of Jamel Stinson (21 points) and Brent Mahoney (16), won out in the end.
“They moved the ball real quick,” Schmidt said after the game. “Stinson’s a great player and so is Mahoney. They move well with the ball, they move well without the ball, and they create some problems for us inside.”
After a competitive first quarter that saw the Tribe trailing 10-8, the visitors broke the game open in the second stanza by going on a 10-1 run and holding Upper Perk without a field goal for the last 6:22 of the half.
Tribe turnovers played a big role in the Golden Panthers’ outburst. Upper Perk turned the ball over six times in the quarter (13 for the game) and had no answers for the visitors' baseline game and sharp inside passing.
The Tribe’s only saving grace was holding PJP without a three-pointer for the entire game.
That was a plus in Schmidt’s eyes. “We did an okay job, I thought, of denying the outside game for them. They’re a good three-point shooting team.”
On the offensive end, Chandler Junk (17 points) was doing his best to keep the Tribe in the contest. The junior hit for nine points in the half including a pair of treys.
Upper Perk picked up its offensive pace in the third quarter but the closest they could get was 32-23 with 3:37 left when Junk hit a short jumper after taking a pass from Joey Marinelli (13 points).
“I thought we moved the ball better against their three-two. We did a lot of skip passes over the top, got some opportunities,” Schmidt noted.
But Stinson and Mahoney continued to dominate inside, and Upper Perk went cold from the outside, hitting just 13 of 48 (27 percent), including 6 of 18 from three point land, for the game.
Still, Schmidt saw positives. “We had enough good shots tonight. We moved the ball. We got some open shots; we just didn’t make them.”
Another bright spot for the Tribe was the play of 6’1 junior Nate Weinstein (4 points) who came off the bench in the third quarter and battled the Panthers big men tenaciously.
“Nate’s coming on, he’s doing a nice job inside. He does a good job boxing out. He’s getting better offensively. He gives us a little bit of beef,” Schmidt noted.
So, while the Indians did some good things against one of the better programs in the PAC-10, Schmidt expects more than just good tries out of his team.
“We’re getting there. We’re competitive. We want to be more than competitive. Everybody in that locker room, coaches and players, we want to win. So, we look at every game we play as an experience in learning. The process has been a little slow, but every day, we’re getting better and better.”
Junk seconded that notion.
“We played tough. We played strong. The little things killed us. Tomorrow at practice we’ll work on it.”