Quakertown's Brett Wolf, right, gets his hands under the ball as Upper Perk's Nathan Weinstein takes a shot during play in Saturday night's game at Quakertown.
The way things started out in Saturday night’s boys basketball game at Quakertown High School, it appeared that the Panthers were prepared to cruise to victory over the visiting Indians. The Tribe wouldn't go quietly, though, and in the end, Quakertown would have to hang on to claim the 44-35 win.
Upper Perk took a 2-0 lead to open the game on a basket by Chandler Junk, but a tough trapping defense by the Panthers kept the visitors off the score board for the rest of the first quarter. Quakertown’s offense found the basket five times as they ran off 12 straight points ending the first quarter with a double-digit lead at 12-2.
Hoping to capitalize on their noticeable height advantage, the Panthers looked to get a bit more physical in the second quarter by getting the ball into the hands of their big guys in the paint. Though the Tribe held their own on defense, Quakertown’s 6’5” senior Brett Wolf netted 11 first-half points. Wolf went 4-7 from the floor and was perfect from the free throw line, going 3-3.
The pressuring Panther defense which created five first quarter turnovers continued to cause problems for the Tribe in the second quarter, as the Indians turned it over eight more times. Had it not been for the hot hand of Upper Perks Joey Marinelli the game could have all but been decided by halftime. Marinelli scored all ten of the Tribes second quarter points. Quakertown led 23-12 at the half.
Down 11 at the start of the third quarter the Tribe looked to climb back into the game from beyond the three point line. Marinelli hit the first one to open the third, Robbie Hinson sank the second. When Marinelli and Matt Rusky each drained a three on consecutive possessions with a minute thirty remaining in the third, the Tribe had climbed to within six points of the Panthers at 30-24.
The Tribe cut the Panthers lead to four at 39-35 on a basket by Nate Weinstein with two minutes left in the game. With the clock as much the opponent as the Panthers the Indians were forced to foul. Quakertown made the most of their trips to the foul. Colin McLaughlin sank a pair and Wolf went 3-4 as the Panthers scored the game’s final five points from the charity stripe to secure the win.
Quakertown was led by Wolf who had 18 points going 6-11 from the floor and 6-7 from the free throw line. Mark Repsher had 8 while Griffin Schmidt and Liam Buckley netted 7 each.
Upper Perk got a game high 19 from Marinelli who was 7-13 from the floor including three from beyond the arc, and hit two of his three free throw attempts. Hinson added six on a pair of three pointers.
Upper Perk returns to action at home tonight when they take on Boyertown at 7:30pm. They are home again Saturday against Owen J. Roberts also at 7:30.