Jones’ 34 not enough as Rams down the Knights in an OT thriller


Bailey Kemmerling

Sophomore Ryan Zelt dribbles into the lane with two available options to both his right and left: Senior Josh Jones and Freshman Dave Dawes.

Towamencin – 2 games into the season and a game of the year candidate has emerged.

The Pennridge Rams defeated the North Penn Knights by a final score of 64 – 56. The back and forth game saw multiple lead changes down the stretch, but the Rams sealed the deal in overtime. Josh Jones led all scorers with 34, but Colin Post’s 22 had proved to be more vital for the Rams.

“Just being able to get other guys involved and doing our job,” said Post. “We were able to pull together towards the end, hit some tough shots, and leave with the win.”

The game, which opened up with a Knights 7-0 run, was back and forth all night. The Rams tightened down on defense allowing for a small run of their own, sparked by a TJ Grenda three-pointer. A pair of free throws by Luke Yoder saw the game knotted at 9. The Rams shifted into a full court press defense that had the Knights scrambling and forced a couple of turnovers. A Jones layup gave the Knights a brief lead, only to be answered by another pair of free throws by Yoder. A three-pointer at the buzzer by Jude D’Agostino gave the Rams a 14-13 lead heading into the second quarter.

A three by Post, followed by a wide-open Yoder layup, forced the Knights to call a timeout early into the second quarter. The Knights came out the timeout with two straight buckets, including a layup by Jones after grabbing his own miss. Sophomore Ryan Zelt’s layup was then immediately followed by a D’Agostino jumper to tie the game at 23 with 2 minutes remaining in the half. After a pair of free throws were split by Junior Milind Pulugura, Post was able to spot up a three-pointer to put the Rams up by 2. After a bucket and free throws by Jones, the Knights took a 28-26 lead into halftime.

“We went in at halftime and coach was talking to us,” senior guard Billy Coley said. “We knew we made some mistakes and coach was working with us to try and fix them.”

Pennridge started off cold in the 2nd half missing their first 3 shots until a three by Post off a Yoder assist scored the half’s first points. The Rams defense was proving to be tough for the Knights with the North Penn squad not hitting a field goal until 2:55 left in the 3rd quarter. A back to back layup and jumper by Post put the Rams up by 3 with under 2 minutes left in the quarter. The Knights responded quickly with layups by Zelt and Mario Sgio setting up Jones for another layup. Another end of quarter shot by D’Agostino put the Rams up by 2 heading into the 4th.

The 4th quarter started off with two straight buckets for Pennridge coming at the hands of Yoder and Guard Justin Nichols. The Rams started heating up on offense as more points came from the duo of Yoder and Post. Pennridge extended the lead to 51-42 with only 2:50 left in the 4th quarter. After Jones’s free throws and a Pennridge timeout, the Knights started heating up. A steal by Sgio led to him draining a three that hit the top of the backboard and bounced on the rim, for what seemed like an eternity, before finally falling in and bringing the Knights within 3. The Knights started using their full-court press defense which was able to force a Rams turnover. With under a minute left, Joey Larkin drove into the paint and kicked out to Coley who hit a clutch three that cut the deficit to one. With 28 seconds left, Jones split a pair at the line to tie the game. After a Rams timeout and with 9 seconds remaining, Post drove and missed the potential game-winner, forcing the game to overtime.

To start OT, Senior Greg Stumpo hit a three for the Rams and they never looked back. The three was followed by another one, this time by Nichols. After trading baskets with under a minute left, Senior TJ Grenda was sent to the line for the Rams, where he made it a two-possession game with only 22 seconds left, effectively ending the game. A couple more fouls pursued by the Knights but it was just too little too late. The Rams were able to hold on for the overtime win, which will surely be placed in the game of the year category.

“It really was an exciting and great game,” coach Dean Behrens said. “It was just great from start to finish, two good teams playing really hard.”

The Knights (1-1, 1-1 conference) will visit Plymouth Whitemarsh on Saturday, as the Rams (2-2, 1-2 Conference) will play at Central Bucks West on Tuesday.