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Boys basketball: Patriots’ season ends in heart wrencher

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The buzzer beater giveth. The buzzer beater taketh away.

Joe Jackman’s three with just ticks left on the clock made No. 12 CB East victorious in a 50-49 District One first-round Valentine’s Day thriller over No. 21 William Tennent.

On Tuesday night in Buckingham, No. 24 North Penn capped a 9-0 run on Kolby Barrow’s buzzer-beating three. The triple gave the Knights (12-14) a 46-43 win and more importantly, a berth in the Class 6A PIAA tournament.

“A key factor for them is how (Josh) Jones has emerged as one of the better players, definitely in our league but maybe in the area,” noted East coach Erik Henrysen. “He is a handful around the rim but he can also shoot the three and defend well.”

The Patriots (15-11) thrashed North Penn 70-47 in Lansdale on Dec. 20 behind Jackman’s 33 points. East won the rematch 50-45 a month later. But the Knights have won 10 of their last 17 after a horrendous start to their season.

East’s Chris Charlton sank a three to tie the game at 7. Tyler Young’s ankle-breaking layup gave East their first lead at 9-7.

When East’s Jason Markowitz hit a three to put the Patriots up 20-16 with 3:10 remaining in the first half, it was the first time either team had a two-possession lead. Young’s late three put East up 23-22 at intermission.

“They were likely going to a 1-3-1 zone so we spent practice trying to figure out how to get the ball inside out so we could get a touch and then a wide open three,” said senior Charlton, who faced the emotional postgame interviews with grace and poise.

Jones’ layup gave North Penn a 28-23 lead; Markowitz responded with three triples in short order. Charlton’s three with 2:43 left put East up 43-37. But the Knights scored the next six points and got the ball back on a charging call with 6.1 seconds left.

East’s Jack Hamilton is 6-foot-8, but the Knights have three big starters in their front court. “We were looking for any type of wing entry,” Henrysen explained, “that we would front the post and give extra help on the lob and plant Jack in the lane as much as possible. But their size was a problem.”

Jones’ 18 led all scorers. Markowitz’s 12 and Charlton’s 11 points paced East. The Patriots got five points and four assists from their bench.

“That was one of our strengths – we have a lot of people who can contribute on any given night,” Charlton shared. “One of the hard things we’ve had to balance this year is that we had to drop our ego, and whoever is playing well that night is going to play. We have to all be there for the team.”

At one point, CB East was 2-4 yet it came a stop and basket away from making states.

“We knew what we had so we weren’t worried when we were dropping some games,” Charlton said. “Sooner or later, it would turn into wins.”

“It will be difficult to see our four seniors go,” Henrysen concluded. “I think they particularly challenged our junior group that saw a lot of minutes and who we leaned on quite a bit. They gave them that snapshot of what it means to be a teammate.”


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