Knights season comes to close after OT loss


Jake Copestick

BASKETBALL- The North Penn Knights lost during overtime, ending their season in the state playbacks.

BERWYN – With their backs against the wall, facing elimination, the North Penn Knights gave the Conestoga Pioneers all they could handle on Friday night. The Knights erased a six point lead going into the fourth quarter and forced overtime, but came up short, losing by a score of 62-54.

The three point shot was big in the first quarter, as both the Pioneers and the Knights knocked down three triples a piece. For the Knights, A.J. Mitchell, Joey Lindsay, and A.J. Catanzaro each canned a three pointer in what was a balanced quarter. All five starters found the statsheet for North Penn. The Pioneers ended the first quarter with the lead, as Zach Lazanic nailed two three pointers and Shane Scott had a three of his own, giving Conestoga a 21-16 lead.

“After giving up 21 points in the first quarter, we said we were going to limit them to ten points a quarter,” said Lindsay.

Even with their offense struggling, the Knights defense kept them in the game. Conestoga never had more than eight points in a quarter until the end of regulation, but they still held a six point advantage going into the half. The closest North Penn would get to the lead was four, when Chris Coleman hit a three pointer for three of his team-leading seven points in the first half.

For North Penn, David Robinson had 7 of his 13 points in the third quarter, bringing the Knights within one point of the lead. However, the Conestoga lead went back up to six points when Milton Robinson nailed a three in the waning moments of the third quarter, putting the Pioneers ahead 36-30.

Down six points to start the fourth quarter, North Penn was just eight minutes away from potentially having their season end.

But they weren’t done just yet.

Evan Medley scored the first points of the fourth quarter for Conestoga, before North Penn dialed up the pressure on defense and went on an 11-0 run. They took the lead for the first time in the second half. Chris Coleman forced a turnover, and Chris Caputo put in his first basket of the game to give the Knights a 39-38 lead. A.J. Catanzaro sank a pull-up jumper at the free-throw line to extend the lead to three points.

“We started slow defensively and I thought we played well when we went man to man. Our press helped turn [Conestoga] over a bit,” said North Penn head coach John Conrad.

It wasn’t long before Conestoga regained the lead, though. With two minutes left, Evan Medley scored his second bucket of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 42. A minute later, Shane Scott followed Medley’s basket with a tough shot in the lane to put the Pioneers up 44-42 with just under a minute to go in regulation.

With under 30 seconds to play, A.J. Catanzaro was fouled, and stood at the free-throw line, two makes away from knotting up the game at 44.

Catanzaro went 1-2, but it wouldn’t be too long before the Knights would have another chance at the free-throw line.

Zach Lazanic missed the front-end of a one and one for Conestoga, giving North Penn the ball with under 10 seconds to go. The last possession was pretty frantic for the Knights. The ball wound up in the hands of Chris Coleman, whose shot hit the backboard and rimmed out.

Although Coleman’s shot didn’t go in, he was fouled, and went to the free-throw line, two makes away from sealing a fourth quarter comeback win for the Knights.

Coleman rattled home the first free-throw, tying the game at 44.

Everyone in the gym at Conestoga High School then collectively held their breath.

One make, the game was over. One miss, the Knights and Pioneers would play extra basketball.

Coleman was short on his second free throw.

To overtime they’d go.

The two teams traded buckets right away. Milton Robinson nailed a three-pointer to give the Pioneers a three point lead, but A.J. Mitchell answered back quickly with a layup to cut the lead to one.

Fouls started to become a problem for North Penn. David Robinson fouled out with 2:30 left in overtime, being the first of two Knights to foul out in OT. Joey Lindsay was the second when he committed his fifth foul with 32 seconds left in the game.

Conestoga used their near-perfect free-throw shooting to put things out of reach for North Penn. The Pioneers went 11/14 from the stripe in overtime, which accounted for 11 of their 18 points in the extra period. The loss for the Knights ended the tenures of seniors A.J. Catanzaro, Chris Coleman, and Joey Lindsay in the North Penn basketball program.

“Forming bonds with a lot of people. Some people you can look back on and say “I miss that guy, he taught me a lot of things,” and after last year’s team, I needed to be one of those guys that someone can look to in a time of need,” reflected Lindsay.

North Penn finished the season over .500 with an overall record of 13-12.

“Not being around these guys tomorrow morning is really going to be tough. These are good, high character kids that come from good families,” remarked Conrad.

NP: Coleman 13 pts, D. Robinson 13 pts, Catanzaro 13 pts, Lindsay 7 pts, Mitchell 5 pts, Caputo 3 pts

Conestoga: Scott 18 pts, Lazanic 15 pts, M. Robinson 14 pts, Schappel 6 pts, Medley 4 pts, Erickson 3 pts, Braca 2 pts