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Boys basketball: CB East notches first victory over West since 2014


Having lost nine straight to neighboring rival Central Bucks West, Central Bucks East did not want to see the Bucks run their win streak to double digits, especially in the Patriots’ home gymnasium.

Not on this night and not in front of a packed house that was rockin’ and rollin’.

East gave its home fans plenty to cheer about, especially when the Pats took a one-point lead going into the fourth period on a pair of free throws by senior captain Ben Markowitz (17 points).

The crowd screamed even louder when junior Jake Rotondo hit a 3-point play early in the fourth quarter followed by a driving layup by sophomore Joe Jackman (16 points) that gave East its biggest edge in the game to that point, up 40-36 just 1:18 into the stanza.

But just like that, the Bucks reeled off a 14-3 run to put the Patriots into a seven-point (50-43) hole with just 1:40 remaining in regulation.

Taking his team onto his shoulders, Markowitz tallied the next nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers, the last of which he added an extra toss from the foul line for a four-point play that deadlocked the score at 52-all with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“Ben Markowitz came up with some heroics,” said CB East head coach Erik Henryson. “He’s our captain; that’s what a captain is supposed to do.”

Markowitz was mugged by a West defender on the play and was horizontal on the hardwood when his final trey went through the net.

“As I was laying on the ground, I kind of peaked under, and I thought I saw it going through the bottom of the net. When I heard everyone cheering, I knew it went in.”

In overtime, senior Leo Masterson (eight points), in addition to hitting the opening jumper in the extra session, secured the last two rebounds for the Patriots then made three of his last four free throws to give East a 61-58 triumph.

“He’s a great player and we trust him,” said Markowitz. “He goes to the line and hits his free throws, we come out with the win.”

For the Patriots, it was their first victory over the Bucks since January 2014.

“It feels great; I loved it,” said Markowitz. “It was a great atmosphere and a great time.

“I’m just happy we came out with a win.”

West entered the Pats’ gym winners in nine straight over neighboring rival CB East, including a nine-point triumph in the second round of districts last season.

The Bucks are coming off a big year where they reached the District One Class 6A semifinals and the state quarterfinals. But West is missing three starters from last season including Collin MacAdams (California University of Pennsylvania), Shane McCusker and Jake Reichwein (Holy Cross football).

“Both teams came ready to play,” said CB West head coach Adam Sherman. “But they were able to make a couple plays down the line that helped them win. They made a couple free throws, banked in a shot and that put them in a good spot.”

After a slow start in a see-saw battle that saw the Bucks leading 18-16 at the half, West pulled ahead by five – 31-26 – midway through the third quarter on a pull-up jumper by senior Reed Zerweck (13 points) and a 3-point play by co-captain Jack Mulhearn.

CB East sophomore Brendan Harte picked a good time to make his only shot in the game and Markowitz hit the first of three treys in the battle to draw the sides even at 31-all.

With the Patriots up by one heading into the fourth quarter, Jackman gave his team a small cushion on a pair of shots from the floor, the second of which went for three that put East ahead, 43-40, three minutes into the fourth quarter.

“He’s a sophomore but Joe’s one of those guys that doesn’t have a conscience,” said Henryson.

“He might miss three; he might make three. He doesn’t really mind; he just stays after it.”

Mulhearn led all scorers with 21 points for the Bucks. After being held to nine points through the first three periods, he exploded for a dozen in the fourth quarter, helping the visitors pull ahead.

But East came into this game with a plan, especially on defense.

“Mulhearn is just a talent,” admitted Henryson. “We really wanted to key on him and limit his looks from 3-point range. Everybody else had to keep their guys in front of them and do their jobs.”

Mika Munari was held to just 11 points, including just four shots made from the floor.

“He’s an athlete that can get to the rim so we had to do our best to try to stay in front of him,” Henryson said. “We were coming at him in waves and we had quite a few guys get into foul trouble because they were trying to guard two very talented players.”

With his team trailing 43-40 in the fourth quarter, Mulhearn helped spike a 10-0 run for CB West, scoring seven of those points himself, two of which were putback baskets, the first of which was a trey on the Bucks’ fifth shot of the possession.

“We did rebound well and I think we beat them on the glass,” said Sherman. “We just have to do better in end of the game situations – how we handle the ball and how we play.”

Back in action in last Saturday’s SOL Challenge at Council Rock South, East (3-0, 1-0 SOL) toppled CR North 69-68 in double overtime.

Markowitz led the Patriots with 21 points and six rebounds, and Masterson added 15 points. Nick Roggio chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.

West (2-3, 0-1: SOL) fell to Plymouth-Whitemarsh 53-42 in regulation last Saturday at Colonial Middle School. Jack Neri led the Bucks with 16 points, nine in the fourth quarter, and Mulhearn had 13.