Central Bucks South senior Alex Dietz wants to play basketball in college.
Hitting both ends of a one-on-one to give your team a 46-43 lead with 18 seconds left will get you noticed.
“That’s where I want to be,” Dietz said plainly. “I want the ball in that situation. I feel confident that I can hit those shots. Every day, I shoot a lot of free throws to get my mind right.”
The Titan defense forced an errant Pennridge 3-point attempt at the buzzer to earn the win on Tuesday. South’s victory, on the Titans’ Senior Night, gave head coach Jason Campbell his 200th career win.
“You definitely think about it before the game but once you’re out there, you’re playing and doing what you have to do,” Mike Waltrich noted. “It’s definitely special. We had six other seniors who are brothers to me and Coach getting his 200th win. It’s a lot right now!”
Campbell deflected credit on the milestone to his assistant coaches, staff and family. “This individual win brings more joy to me than having 200 in my career,” Campbell admitted. “To win a game against a great Pennridge program that (coach) Dean Behrens has done a fantastic job with over my time.” South’s last win over the Rams was in December 2017.
The coach’s message to his banged up team was “win this last home game and give our seniors something to always remember,” Campbell shared.
Waltrich and Pennridge’s Christian Guldin both hit a pair of threes in the first quarter. Dietz’s floater near the buzzer gave the Titans a 13-10 lead after one.
“People want to take away the three and make you shoot mid-range shots so you have to take what they give you,” Waltrich explained. “We practice those shots because we know people are going to do that. Once you practice them, you’re confident that you’ll make them in games.”
Talented Titan sophomore big man Michael Farley showed his versatility by opening the second quarter with a hook shot and later nailing a 12-footer to put South up 19-12. Pennridge’s own talented big Trent Fisher – who was a rebound short of a double-double – countered with six second-quarter points. But Farley’s jam with 1:00 left electrified the crowd and put South up 30-20.
South led 42-32 after a back and forth third quarter. Guldin’s 3-point play started a 6-0 Ram run in the fourth that cut South’s lead to 42-38 with 4:45 remaining. South held Pennridge to just five more points.
“It was the best game we’ve played by far,” Dietz assessed. “We were knocking down every shot and played really tough on D. We were all on the same page talking, we dug down, we took away their good players and hustled out there.”
Dietz’s 15 points and Waltrich’s 11 first-half points led South. Guldin’s 14 points paced Pennridge.
Tuesday’s game had a different outcome from the first meeting on Jan. 3. Five different Rams scored in double figures in a Pennridge 72-47 win.
“It was our Senior Night so our guys all stepped up and we wanted it a little differently this time. We’d been on a little losing streak,” observed John Hackendahl, who scored five. “It’s huge. It’s (Coach’s) 200th win and we really hadn’t had a good win in a while. This can get us going heading into districts.”
“We did some different things with our defense based on the offense that they run. We focused in on a couple of guys,” Campbell offered. “I thought our players did an outstanding job, because Pennridge can put up some points. It was going to come down to 50/50 balls and rebounding. We got hammered last time on the offensive glass. Offensively, we were disciplined, we shared the ball, we didn’t force up shots.”
Pennridge (13-5, 7-2 SOL Continental) holds a one-game lead over CB West for the Continental title. CB South (10-9, 5-5 Continental), who started the season strong but entered Tuesday with a three-game losing streak, helped their case for a district playoff spot.
South next faces Neshaminy on Saturday, the day before Pennridge hosts Souderton.
“I’m proud of them. Sometimes it’s hard to show up for practice if you are a high school kid and you’ve lost eight out of ten games,” Campbell pointed out. “But tonight they stepped up and realized what they can do if they put it all together as a team.”