Spring-Ford employing a fast pace

Posted: February 07, 2014

In coming over from Owen J. Roberts, Chris Talley brought his preference for up-tempo basketball to Spring-Ford.

Even so, the boys' basketball coach never could have imagined the kind of scoring explosion that took place in a Pioneer Athletic Conference game last month. In an all-timer, Spring-Ford, with 42 fourth-quarter points, outlasted host Pottstown, 108-104, in overtime.

Unfortunately, because of illness, Talley was not there.

"My sister-in-law was texting me with updates," he said. "It was pretty crazy. We came back and won after trailing by 16 with four minutes left in regulation."

Talley, who spent the last two seasons at Owen J. Roberts and was an assistant at Spring-Ford before that, has guided his alma mater to a 19-2 overall record and a 13-0 mark in PAC-10 action.

"With the size and experience we brought back, we were very optimistic as a coaching staff that we would do well this year," he said.

Spring-Ford has been fueled by three seniors: 6-foot-4 forwards Nick Stanek and Gary Hopkins, a dangerous wide receiver in football, and 5-10 point guard Drew Kakareka (47 three-pointers).

Stanek, who is averaging 17.9 points, is considering four Division III college programs: Albright, Alvernia, Gwynedd Mercy, and Ramapo.

"He's a tough all-around player," said Talley, who played hoops at Spring-Ford (Class of 2001) and Alvernia. "He can score inside and outside. He's our catalyst."

In the thriller against Pottstown, Kakareka (33), Stanek (28), and Hopkins (22) combined for 83 points. Fellow senior Ryan Cass (13 points, with 10 in the fourth quarter) hit a late three to force the extra session.

Also in the squad's nine-man rotation are seniors Alex Epps-Ortiz, Josh Tupper, and Noah Collins; junior Mike Olsen; and sophomore Cameron Phillips.

The Rams, who placed first in the Liberty Division, will face Pottsgrove, runner-up in the Frontier Division, in a PAC-10 playoff semifinal at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Pottstown's Strom Gymnasium.

Friday's other semifinal, set for 6 p.m. at Pottstown, pits Pope John Paul II vs. Methacton. The league final is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pottstown.

Champs again. Abington earned its second consecutive Suburban One League National Conference title by turning back visiting Pennsbury, 63-55, Tuesday night.

The Ghosts (18-3 overall, 13-0 conference) went 21 for 23 from the line (13 for 14 in the last quarter) to clinch the title.

"In the latter part of the season, we've been knocking them down," said coach Charles Grasty, whose team overcame 25 turnovers.

Junior guard Matt Penecale paced Abington, which has won 32 straight home games, with 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists. He was 9 for 9 from the line in the second half.

Junior Amir Hinton and senior Anthony Lee, who missed the early portion of the season with a broken right fibula, contributed 16 and 12 points, respectively. Seniors Khari Jefferson (three blocked shots) and Lazaros Mackrides each grabbed seven boards.

Extra points. St. Joseph's Prep junior Chris Clover is averaging 22.6 points, with 26 three-pointers. Teammate Tom Fox has drilled 51 threes in 20 games. . . . For Church Farm, Aondofa Anyam and Joey Shelton average 16.6 and 16.3 points, respectively. . . . Central Bucks East's Brendan McLaughlin (30) and Tommy Strasburger (25) have combined for 55 threes.

Chester's go-to scorers are Mahir Johnson (19 ppg.) and Stony Brook recruit Tyrell Sturdivant (16.5). . . . Archbishop Wood's Pat Smith is averaging 17.8 points, with 47 treys. . . . Radnor has been led in scoring by Nelson Blickman (16.1 ppg.) and Nick Kelly (14). Teammate Terrance Quinn has drained 50 threes.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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