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Boys basketball: Rams’ state title bid dashed in double OT

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The Pennridge boys basketball season can by summarized by a familiar, pop culture word … priceless.

The Rams ended their storybook season with an intense, grueling 64-62 double-overtime loss to traditional Western Pa. powerhouse Kennedy Catholic at Hershey’s Giant Center March 23.

It was an epic and fabled season that began a promising one with high expectations toward contending for their division and a District One title and ended with unprecedented results through a magical run. They became the first Pennridge team to reach a final in school history and were on the verge of the school’s first state championship since baseball won in 1987.

Like it was most of the postseason, Pennridge again took on the role of underdog, this time in the true form of David against the Goliath of Kennedy Catholic, which had a projected 6-foot-9 NBA lottery pick, Oscar Tshiebwe, and two other Division I recruits.

Yet, the awe moment of the night belonged to Pennridge’s version of its lottery pick, Sean Yoder, who soared in the air to block an attempted Tshiebwe dunk late in the game.

Yoder’s highlight was one in a myriad of ones throughout the season for the Rams, who reflected their blue-collar, unbridled work ethic against a team that had won the last three Class A crowns, making the jump to 6A this season.

It will be a season that united a community and discussed around the greater Perkasie area for quite some time.

“This team and season has been incredible,” beamed Pennridge Athletic Director David Babb. “Coach Behrens’ team demonstrated what it means to be Pennridge proud. The team’s leadership on and off the court, effort, work ethic, focus and determination were outstanding.

“The season impacted our athletic program as a whole by bringing excitement, pride and unity to the entire Pennridge School District community. Our booster club family, basketball alumni, cheerleaders, dance team, student body, faculty, staff and administration all shared in and helped pave the way for the team’s success.”

Dean Behrens looked at the big picture after the game and masked his emotions from his players, encouraging them to embrace and cherish the moments on their journey. Their supporters surely did.

“The whole community really got behind these kids and it was really neat,” said Behrens. “I kept looking up at the crowd during the pregame. I was actually going to kiss the floor, but I thought that would look funny.

“I tried to enjoy it. We’ve never been here. I never dreamed I’d be sitting courtside at the Giant Center in Hershey. I tried to tell the kids about the history of this town. We tried to make it a fun atmosphere for the kids, and enjoy the experience.

“We were upset we lost, but it was a great day.”

Yoder, the Naval recruit who played the entire game and led his team with 18 points, eventually saw a Hershey trip develop into a reality.

“We didn’t think we could ever make it this far, but we kept getting better and the chemistry kept building,” he said. “Players perfected their roles and that makes a good team a great one. Once the playoffs began, we were confident we could hang with anybody.

“We had the confidence in the locker room and in each other. I can’t compare this run to anything in my life, and I will remember it for a long time.”

Fellow senior Jon Post, who had 12 points, saw his team quickly mature after consecutive losses to Quakertown and Abington early in the regular season.

“That was a tough two-game stretch where we could have easily folded,” he said. “Instead, we went harder and wanted to prove everybody wrong. This was unlike anything I ever experienced.

“It was such as surreal moment when I stepped out on the court and let everything sink in. We just kept playing for each other and as one all year.”


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