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Boys basketball: Pennridge advances

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Pennridge’s John Dominic and his teammates were getting a little anxious. The Rams hadn’t played a game in eight days since their loss to Abington in the Suburban One League championship game Feb. 11.

Against Spring-Ford in a PIAA District One Class 6A second-round playoff game on their home court Tuesday night, the Rams flirted with several bouts of anxiety.

In the end, though, Pennridge showed the grit and resolve it has exhibited all season long in a 71-48 blowout victory and also clinched a berth in the state tournament.

Dominic sparked a third-quarter rally when he scored seven of his game-high 15 points during a furious 11-2 spurt over the last five minutes of the third quarter that placed the fourth-seeded Rams ahead to stay at 49-35 at the start of the fourth quarter.

“We hadn’t played a game in about eight days and the first half jitters killed us,” said Dominic, who is a senior. “We just needed to remind ourselves about how well we have played during the season.

“We came out after halftime and played our game. Coach (Dean Behrens) reminded us how we have held teams down in the third quarter and we went out and did that.”

The Rams held No. 13 Spring-Ford to just six points in third quarter, and the visiting Rams didn’t score in the final 3:30 of the third quarter. Pennridge set a goal to hold them to eight points in the third quarter after it held a 30-29 halftime lead.

Dominic was one of four Pennridge players in double figures. Trent Fisher and Jon Post each had 13 with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively, and Luke Yoder had 10.

“I thought John Dominic got off to a tough start with himself in the first half, and man did he step up in the second half,” said Behrens. “His senior leadership has been outstanding. Trent Fisher also really stepped it up for us, and it was great to see the other boys do it, too.

“They ran a perfect game plan with a match-up zone in the first half. In the second half, we got in motion more and got our cutters going. Our defense won the game in the second half.”

Pennridge had a scare and a collective gasp filled the gym with 5:13 left in the third quarter when leading scorer and Navy recruit Sean Yoder crashed to the floor with an apparent knee injury. Yoder went to the trainer’s room, but he returned to the bench just over a minute later.

Yoder, who struggled with his shooting in the first half with just three points, finished with nine, two of them on a full court rebound-to-layup and then followed with a lay-in to boost the Rams lead to 20 (57-37) with just under three minutes.

Pennridge will advance to the quarterfinal round and host fifth-seeded Norristown Friday night.

“They will be up in your face at the 94-foot line,” said Behrens about Norristown. “We will have our work cut out for us.”


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