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Boys basketball: CB East edges rival West


Whenever Central Bucks East needs a critical basket, the Patriots count on junior Joe Jackman.

With less than two minutes to go in last Friday night’s clash with rival CB West, the shooting forward for East canned a 3-pointer that drew his team even at 45-all in a duel the Patriots led most of the way.

From there, Jackman poured five more foul shots into the basket, helping East to a crucial 52-48 triumph over the Bucks to pull its way into a four-way tie for second place in the Suburban One Continental Conference. The Patriots are 4-3 in the league along with West, CB South and Souderton.

“He really is a player. I think he is the best player in this league, by far,” said CB East junior Anthony Giordano. “He averages over 20 (points) a game. Against good teams like Abington, he had over 30, North Penn, over 30. He’s scored 20 or more points in every single game.”

“He’s clutch,” added senior co-captain Chris Charlton, of Jackman.

Giordano hit a key basket himself in the final minute of this one. With his team trailing 46-45, Giordano banked an off-balance shot off the glass, putting East on top for good. What’s more, a loose ball foul enabled the Patriots to retain possession.

While East turned the ball over on a five-second violation, West returned the favor by clanking the rock off the rim on an inbounds pass, giving possession back to the Pats.

Jackman canned three of his next three free throws, putting East on top 50-46 with under 20 seconds remaining in the contest. Up four, the Pats conceded an open layup to Dan Miller, drawing West within a pair with 6.4 ticks left on the clock.

With time winding down, the Bucks panicked, tossing the rebound into West’s student section, which was packed to capacity with supporters dressed in Day-Glo colors for the occasion.

A technical foul was assessed, sending Jackman to the line to shoot two. “Joey Buckets” hit both, sending the score to its 52-48 final.

For the 11-4 Bucks, the loss ended an eight-game win streak that began near the end of last month with a win over Colleton County in the Modie Risher Classic. West topped East by double digits the first time the two teams met this season and the Bucks ended the Patriots District One bid last year with another double-digit win over their crosstown rivals.

While CB West senior Mika Munari helped his team with 30 points in a 66-53 Bucks’ triumph over East in December, the Pats held the top scorer for West to a dozen points this time around and just five points in the final three quarters.

“After the last East-West game, we knew that if we wanted to win, we had to start on the defensive end,” explained Charlton. Mika Munari scored 30 points last time so we knew we had to keep him out of the lane and we knew good defense would lead to good offense.”

East relied heavily on long Jack Hamilton and the big junior came through with half a dozen blocked shots in this one.

“When he’s blocking shots like that, he’s the most impactful defensive player in the league,” added Charlton. “Not many teams have a 6-9, 6-10 dude who can block shots like that and are that athletic.”

“It helps us because if we all get beat to the basket, we have him to save us at the rim.”

Hamilton’s defensive stops ignited the capacity crowd several times, especially in the first half when the Patriots were establishing a defensive posture.

“Those are definitely big plays in a game like this,” said Charlton. “In this atmosphere, smart plays like that really get the crowd going.”

With his team trailing 13-11 in the final moments of the first quarter, Big Jack also electrified the audience with a slam dunk off an alley-oop. While he missed the ensuing free throw, Giordano was right there with the offensive rebound and the putback basket that gave East a 15-13 edge heading into the second stanza.

Tied at 17, the Pats assembled a five-point run with a Brendan Harte 3-pointer and a layup by Jackman. Near the end of the half, Miller poured a pair of shots from the floor into the basket to draw the Bucks within a point. CB East senior Tyler Young gave the home team some breathing room however when he hit a 3-point play just before the teams headed to the locker room.

Each time West drew near, it seemed, the Patriots responded. When Munari canned 3-of-4 free throws near the end of the third quarter to draw his team within a point, Jackman made good on a pair of foul shots of his own and Giordano banked a pull-up jumper off the glass and through, putting East up 40-35, heading into the final frame.

“Give them credit, they played really well – they had a good game plan,” said CB West senior Jack Neri. “We didn’t execute the way we should have and they won the game.”

“We try to pride ourselves on defense and defensive principles. It slipped away a little bit from us tonight including myself. We just have to get back at it and get ready for the next game.”

With 10 seniors on the current squad, the Bucks are looking to assemble a run to states similar to the campaign they put together in 2018 when they reached the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals.

“We want to go as far as we can,” explained Neri. “This is a big senior class. We’re all really close and we all want to keep playing with one another.

“We don’t want to lose.”

Last season, after eliminating CB East in the District One opener, West bowed out in the Round of 16 after a loss to Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Norristown.

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