For the Quakertown boys basketball team, it will be a learning process.
The young Panthers will be looking for consistency all season long as they infuse younger players into their lineup among six returning seniors.
Quakertown is coming off a competitive showing in the recent Salisbury Township High School tournament in which it posted an impressive 82-57 victory over the host team and battled eventual champion Northampton down the stretch before suffering a 47-32 defeat.
“We shot the ball well against Salisbury and we had 10 threes,” said first-year head coach Mike DeCarolis. “We were hitting our shots and scored 82 points.
“In the championship game, we only had one three and had one field goal in the third quarter. We were only down two at halftime, but it was a pretty frustrating night.”
DeCarolis knows the team has to address its approach after halftime.
“Our Achilles’ heel all season has been the third quarter,” said DeCarolis. “I don’t know what happens, but we go cold.
“But we are a young team feeling our way. We haven’t been able to put four quarters together. Being young is a good problem to have.”
Freshman guard Bobby Rosenberger and sophomore forward Jimmy Casey were named to the all-tournament team. Rosenberger had 20 against Salisbury and 10 against Northampton, while Casey had 16 and eight respectively.
Senior captain Eli Ortiz also had a good tournament, as he had 15 points against Salisbury and six against Northampton. Ortiz earlier had a season-high 16 against Pennridge.
“He is a good ball handler and good leader in the locker room for us,” said DeCarolis. “He’s a catalyst for us and we go as he does.”
The victory was only the second of the season for the Panthers (2-6).
However, DeCarolis’s initial victory certainly was special.
His team upset perennial power Pennridge, 67-59, and it was the first meeting with his former head coach Dean Behrens, who he previously served as an assistant coach.
“That was awesome,” said DeCarolis. “I was there for nine years with him and we have an amazing relationship. To get my first win in that gym against Pennridge is something I will never forget.”
DeCarolis is optimistic his club can make a run at districts and sees 10 wins as the magic number. The Panthers have 14 games remaining beginning with hosting North Penn Friday night.
“I look at it as two mini-series of seven games each,” said DeCarolis. “We have to go 4-3 in each one.
“It would be nice to get there especially for the seniors who haven’t been there before. We are improving each game and it will take time. I think we can be a dangerous team for everyone down the stretch.”