A hot defense can atone for a chilly offense.
On a chilly Monday night, when the New Hope-Solebury Lions were in a six-minute scoring drought, their strong defense minimized the damage. The Lions (8-4, 5-2 Bicentennial) warmed up late in the second quarter to pull away from host Calvary Christian (5-8, 2-5 BAL) 47-34.
NH-S led wire-to-wire.
“Our defense was phenomenal tonight,” praised Lions’ coach Rick Fedele, as his team improved to 8-1 when it yielded less than 48 points.
“We gave up some obvious scores late in the game but we constantly are working on that. We’re not going to score 60 a night. We want to slow the game down and pressure teams. They have really adapted and done a good job.”
“Coach preaches defense and keeping the ball to one side,” echoed 6-foot-7 center Topher Taylor. “Once they get to one side, don’t let them get back to the other. Keep everything outside of the paint. Make them work for whatever they get.”
NH-S jumped out to an 8-2 lead with less than three minutes elapsed. Every starter scored or assisted on the four baskets.
The Cougars got stops but could only cut the lead to 8-6 early in the second. Taylor hit two jumpers, and Michael Borys hit two threes in 77 seconds to extend the margin to 18-7.
“They felt really good, especially since they were doubling down on Toph who was able to open me up with the three,” said Borys, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
A Taylor bucket and Borys’ layup at the buzzer gave the Lions a 22-7 halftime advantage. Calvary’s Jesse Doran scored all seven first half points.
“We started playing together more and playing better defense,” said Patrick Cooney, who had six points and four assists.
“Those two threes and steal at the end loosened the game up,” Fedele added. “Calvary is very aggressive and feisty. They tried to get us going quick and we were forcing stuff early.”
A Borys jumper and Taylor layup opened the second half, extending the margin to 26-9. The fourth quarter scoring commenced with two Taylor free throws and Cooney’s three-point play, making the score 38-19 with 6:45 remaining.
Taylor led with 18 points and five blocks. He was a rebound shy of a double-double. “They double teamed me most of the night from the backside,” Taylor explained. “I was able to kick it up top for the inside out deep jumper.”
Phil Weinseimer logged five rebounds and a block, while Logan Waterman dropped three dimes.
The Lions opened 2019 with consecutive losses but rebounded to top William Tennent 47-44 on Jan. 5. NH-S has another chance for a Suburban One win on Jan. 21 at Neshaminy.
NH-S entered Monday’s game coming off of a 53-39 defeat of Delco Christian where Taylor scored 20 and Waterman bombed four threes to tally 16 points.
The hot hand “could be any of us,” Borys explained. “If you’re in the right spot at the right time.”
Results of NH-S’s Wednesday’s contest at Lower Moreland were unavailable at press time. “We have a tough road to hoe,” Fedele concluded, “but the kids are starting to kick it in gear. One of the things we did much better tonight was getting the ball into the post. That was a good takeaway.”