Knights edged by Explorers in home opener

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TOWAMENCIN- Every now and then, high school sports get crowds on the edges of their seats. However, as North Penn (4-2) faced LaSalle (4-2), it seemed as if there was never a moment where one wouldn’t be on the edge of your seat. In a back and forth battle, it was the Explorers who came out on top, beating the Knights by a 1 point lead of 46-45.

“I thought we played hard and well tonight. We just came up a little bit short,” said Head Coach John Conrad.

I thought we played hard and well tonight. We just came up a little bit short”

— Head Coach John Conrad

In the first quarter, North Penn and LaSalle proved to be a close match up as they kept the score to a tight 14-12 with LaSalle in the lead. North Penn’s first quarter was dominated by junior Chris Coleman, who scored six of their twelve points and could often be found mid air snagging a rebound. Early on, LaSalle utilized their 6’7” sophomore weapon, Zachary Crisler, who added eight to LaSalle’s fourteen.

At the start of the second quarter, North Penn’s senior Noah Kwortnik tied up the scoreboard early to keep the Knights’ momentum rolling. Throughout the quarter, senior David Giuliani was a powerhouse in the paint, racking up 6 points to add to North Penn’s growing score.

“LaSalle is a really good team, and we were right there with them the entire night; I think that says a lot about our team,” said Giuliani.

At half time, the Explorers maintained a lead of two points at 23-21.However, only six seconds into the third quarter, sophomore AJ Mitchell changed that when he drove straight to the basket to tie up the game. Mitchell could sense the extra pressure of such a close game, but he used it to his advantage.

“Pressure is drive. It drove the whole team, because it became our motivation,” said Mitchell.

When LaSalle started to break away from the close scoreboard early in the quarter, senior Reece Udinski and Kwortnik decided to turn their game up a notch and make plays happen. North Penn’s Lance Ford also increased North Penn’s momentum through his speed and vision for the next pass. The Knights were able to keep the Explorer’s lead to a mere 30-28 going into the final quarter.

Pressure is drive. It drove the whole team, because it became our motivation”

— Sophomore AJ Mitchell

Although the entire game was a rollercoaster of emotions with the score being as close as it was, the fourth quarter wins the prize for being the most exciting.

Just as the game had been the whole night, LaSalle kept a slight lead over North Penn, even after the Knights briefly earned a seven point lead.

Then, with 1:52 left in the game, Udinski saved a ball from going out of bounds and lobbed it past half court to senior Derek Heiserman, who made the layup to tie up the game 43-43.

With sixteen seconds left in the game, LaSalle’s junior Sean Simon hit a three to make the score 46-43. North Penn then earned a technical foul, and Mitchell sunk his two foul shots to make it a 46-45 ball game.

The Knights had 2.9 seconds to possibly win the game, but when senior Ricky Johns could not find the next pass in the play, he quickly shot and missed at the buzzer.

“We had some long spells where we didn’t score, and then we had spells where we played hard and ran hard; we just need to get more consistent in the future,” said Conrad.

Losing by one point in a basketball game is never an easy thing to do, but the Knights are putting this early game into perspective for the rest of their season.

“We never gave up from the first second to the last second, and that is all you can really ask for,” said Giuliani.

Scoring:

North Penn

12 21 28 45

Mitchell; 12, Giuliani; 11, Kwortnik; 6, Coleman; 6, Heiserman; 4, Johns; 4, Udinski; 2

LaSalle

14 23 30 46

Crisler; 21, Simon; 12, Stukes; 7, Kiszka; 4, Powell; 2

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