Bucks County Herald

Dueling student sections fuel CB West, CB East; Bucks win

DAVID CAMPBELL

Before Collin MacAdams would step to the foul line and after he missed a free throw, the Central Bucks East student section would serenade the Central Bucks West senior standout with chants of “O-VER-RAT-ED.”

When MacAdams converted a foul shot, the Bucks student section, which was on the opposite end of the court, responded with roars of “UN-DER-RAT-ED.”

CB West had the final word – and the last laugh – on Saturday afternoon. MacAdams poured in half of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter (he knocked down seven of 10 from the charity stripe in the final frame and 10 of 14 in the game) as the Bucks held off the Patriots, 65-55, in Suburban One League (SOL) Continental action in Holicong.

“Us moving the ball is so important because then teams can’t just key on one player,” CB West junior point guard Jack Mulhearn said. “We all move the ball, we all score and they can’t shut all of us down.”

While MacAdams tends to get the headlines – and justifiably so – the Bucks are much more than a one-man operation. Take sophomore Jack Neri, for example. Neri didn’t start Saturday’s game, but head coach Adam Sherman gave Neri extended minutes in the first half, and Neri helped turn a 13-11 disadvantage after one quarter into a 31-24 CB West lead at intermission.

“It’s the East-West game,” said Neri, who scored all nine of his points in the second quarter. “It always gets you pumped up. I had something going and I just kept going with it. It’s always a lot of fun.”

“He played awesome,” Mulhearn praised. “That’s what we need.”

CB West grew its advantage to 45-30 in the third quarter. CB East came back with seven straight – senior Kyle Cassidy had the first five – but a senior Shane McCusker three-point play pushed the lead back to double digits in the fourth.

Junior Ben Markowitz’s three-ball and subsequent three-point play cut the deficit to 51-45 with 3:15 remaining. Markowitz scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth; Cassidy netted seven of his team-high 22 in the final quarter. However, the Bucks were clutch from the line down the stretch, hitting 14 of 19 in crunch time.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pull it out, but I think we kind of came together a little bit as a team in the third and made a run at it,” Cassidy said.

The Patriots are 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the SOL Continental.

Senior Jesse Rivera managed 10 points and a team-leading four rebounds against the Bucks. Classmate Collin Stein contributed six points.

The Patriots were stellar from the stripe, where they went 15 of 18; Cassidy sank all six of his attempts.

CB East has more than held its own despite huge graduation losses.

“I think we always do a good job of having guys step up and really embrace the next class up and next man up philosophy,” said Cassidy, sharing he learned a lot from recent graduate Matt Pattyson, an SOL first-teamer in 2016-17. “I think we do a really good job of playing team basketball every year.”

Mulhearn had similar big shoes to fill with the departure of Jack Traina. Mulhearn pumped in nine points and added six rebounds against the Patriots.

“Jack played really well,” Sherman said. “I thought offensively it was one of his better games. He’s doing a really good job with his decision-making.”

Senior Jake Reichwein also had nine points. McCusker netted a dozen, including 10 in the second half. McCusker didn’t miss a free throw in five attempts.

“We have some pieces to work on,” Neri said, “but once we all put it together, I think we can be a great team.”

The Bucks fell to Central Bucks South, 46-40, last Wednesday. The Titans are undefeated atop the conference.

“It was huge just to bounce back,” Mulhearn said. “We couldn’t ask for anything better. We played our hearts out.”

CB West stands at 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the SOL Continental.

“We got balance,” Sherman concluded. “As long as guys play within themselves and play West-style basketball, we’re going to be okay. Right now, it’s really about what we’re doing. We have not been great decision-makers at times, so if we can stay focused and guys can stick to what they do well, we’re going to be okay.”

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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